Law and Politics
Research Projects and teaching dealing with the institutionalization of diversity are dedicated to an approach, which combines law and politics. Included are also intiviatives of political education in theory and practice.
2023 Law and the political system (PS)
After completing the course, students are able to describe the Austrian political system, its institutions, actors, procedures, decision-making patterns, policy fields and its development, to analyse it with regard to its legal foundations and to be able to correctly classify and answer related questions of state theory and political science. In addition, students are able to apply the scientific working method and the principles of good scientific practice. They are able to structure written scientific work, to cite and use sources correctly and to analyse presentations.
2023 Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law in Europe according to the Juridiction of the European Courts (VU, with Hon-Prof. Gabriel Toggenburg and Dr. Aiste Mickonyte)
In 1956 the republic of Austria joined the Council of Europe, in 1995 followed the accession to the European Union. This long standing European entrenchment into the European structures has very concrete implications for the citizens of Austria but also for its judges. Both international organisations concerned - the Council of Europe as well as the EU - dispose over strong judicial mechanisms. And both European Courts - the Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECtHR) as well as the European Union Court of Justice in Luxembourg (CJEU) - developed an impressive case law that codesigned national legal systems. On the basis of this case law the essence of European Union law and the character of European human rights law can be accessed and understood. Looking at these two areas of law through the cases of the Strasbourg and Luxembourg Courts allows for an interesting insight into how the European and the national layer of governance interact. The seminar will start off with a description and analysis of the judicial systems of both the Council of Europe and the EU. What will folllow is a presentation and discussion of the most interesting cases that originated in Austria but were (co-)decided in Strasbourg/Luxembourg. In this way the seminar will show how immediate the legal and political effects of European integration are, how interesting law can be and, last but not least, how important eventually cases originating from Austria are for the overall development of the European legal order.
The Seminar focuses on the interplay of law and politics in the field of minority protection. It intends to provide a deeper understanding of the complexity of ethnic and intercultural identity conflicts. The objects of investigation are regimes of minority protection in existing law, e.g. in Austria or international instruments of minority protection (Council of Europe). The genesis, functions and systems of these instruments will be considered. To analyse the dynamics of inter-/national conflicts, the Seminar will make use of basic theories on nationalism, ethnicity and identity. It will further enlighten the functions of law in conflicts (e.g. as instrument of conflict management).
From 2017 Conferences will deal with issues of minority protection, memory politics and conflict resolution with regard to the minority-majority situation in bilingual Carinthia in comparison with other case studies from all over Europe and with regard to the upcoming 100th anniversary of the "Carinthian plebiscite" after World War One in 1920.
Conferences | Konference
2023: STRENGTHENING ETHNIC GROUP IDENTITY AND ETHNIC GROUP LANGUAGE - NEW CHALLENGES
Europeanization, globalization, migration and integration. Social change not only poses a challenge to majority societies, but also calls into question the traditional identity characteristics of ethnic group members. These include, in particular, their languages and cultural traditions. The associated identity constructions were shaped by nationalism in the late 19th century and influenced by the dislocations of the 20th century. They led to a considerable assimilation of the ethnic groups - politically, socially, culturally. At present, Europeanization and globalization are making the living environments of ethnic groups more diverse as well. Migration causes the influx of new groups from neighboring European countries and the Kin states of the minority groups, but also beyond. At the same time, members of the majority population in Carinthia are increasingly learning Slovenian, people are rediscovering lost roots in the ethnic groups, others are migrating from the traditional settlement areas or identifying themselves multiculturally - within and between the groups. This poses challenges for the legal design of minority protection and language acquisition, which will be examined at the conference on the basis of case studies from Austria and Europe. Experts from social, legal, cultural and political sciences will discuss the development of regional and ethnic identities as well as the legal classification of new diversity in old instruments of minority protection in the national and European context. The question arises as to what is meant by a minority, how minorities can be recorded as the basis of state administration, and how members locate themselves in the groups. It also raises the question of whether and to what extent regionally rooted social conventions contribute to the prestige of a language. Young people and representatives from the ethnic group discuss with experts from academia and politics how the acceptance of demarcation features has changed over time, whether the European integration process has led to the emergence of more minority-friendly frameworks for the respective identities of ethnic group members, and what steps are indicated for the recalibration of ethnic group protection in light of current challenges.
2022: Ethnic Minority Policy – Yesterday's policy or policy for tomorrow?
Minority policy always faces new challenges: The languages of the ethnic groups must be preserved, even in a world of increased mobility, networking, globalization and digitalization. From September 29 to October 1, 2022, a conference will be dedicated to the current situation of the ethnic groups in Austria and beyond, the needs and identities of their members, the political representation of the ethnic groups, bilingual education and the further development of minority rights. The conference aims to reflect on current ethnic group policy - not as a relic of yesterday, but as an instrument for tomorrow's coexistence. Specifically, for example, the results of the OGM study on the current situation of bilingualism and the needs of Slovene speakers in Carinthia, carried out in spring 2022 on behalf of the Federal Chancellery, will be presented.
The complete conference recording in German and Slovenian can be found here.
The year 2020 saw some movement in the protection of ethnic groups in Europe: many steps forward, some steps back. To the surprise of many ethnic groups in Europe, this first (!) citizens' initiative in the European Parliament "Minority SafePack - one million signatures for diversity in Europe" achieved a majority of 524 out of 694 votes in December 2020, but only one month later the European Commission rejected the package of measures for lack of competence. In Austria, 45 years after the Ethnic Groups Act came into force, the question is what adjustments are needed to meet the current needs of ethnic groups in a diverse Europe. The government program 2020-2024 aims at some projects in the modernization of the protection of the ethnic groups. How can such a modernization take shape? The conference addressed this question from a regional, national, European and international perspective. It wants to contribute to a current discussion in Austria and Europe and offer a platform to work out solutions for new steps in the national and European protection of ethnic groups in a constructive dialogue. Jürgen Pirker took part in the organization and moderated the kick-off panel on visible bilingualism and language prestige including a discussion among representatives of politics.
2020: The Future of the Slovenes in Carinthia
The ethnic conflict has shaped Carinthia's recent history. The legacy of the past casts its shadow on the coexistence between the majority population and the ethnic group. At the same time, globalization, Europeanization, re-nationalization, migration or the emigration of members of ethnic groups pose new challenges for the protection of cultural diversity. 100 years after the Carinthian referendum, a conference from July, 2nd to July, 4th dealt not (only) with the past, but with the future: It was dedicated to dealing with the past and with old and new diversity, examined successful instruments of language preservation, necessary further developments of ethnic group law and the role of the diaspora in questions of minority protection / for the ethnic group.
The complete conference recording in German and Slovenian can be found: here.
2019: 100 Years Treaty of Saint Germain - 100 Years of Minority Protection in Austria
In October, a conference on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the signing of the State Treaty of Saint Germain in 1919 will dealt with the legacy of this treaty and focused on current challenges in the protection of minorities: How do the 1919 peace treaties fit into the system of international relations that prevailed at the time? What is their legacy for the protection of minorities and how can this be further developed in the 21st century? What what role does Europe - in the form of the European Union or the Council of Europe - play in dealing with ethnic or linguistic minorities?
2018: Borders | Meje
Borders separate and connect, geographically and mentally. The borders drawn after the First World War separated "peoples" and populations and promoted nationalism, which experienced its most aggressive forms in the 20th century. The European Union has set out as a "peace project" to overcome borders that have recently been closed again in response to the migration and refugee crisis - in real terms and in people's minds. The anniversary of the Carinthian referendum provides an opportunity to deal with the consequences of border demarcations, their overcoming and the potential of border areas from an interdisciplinary perspective within the framework of the conference series 2018 to 2020.
2017: "New" and "old" Minorities | »Stare« in »nove« manjšine
The interdisciplinary conference deals with "New and Old Minorities: Integration, Law and Politics" and specifically deal with the functions of "classical" instruments of minority protection and the challenges caused by migration for the effective minority protection in ever more pluralistic societies.
Jürgen Pirker, Der Geist der Geschichte(n). Der 10. Oktober im historischen Gedächtnis und in der politischen Bildung, Bulletin des Geschichtsvereins für Kärnten, 2/2018 (Memory Politics in Carinthia). Pdf-Version.
Jürgen Pirker und Linda Hofmeister, Volksgruppenfrage(n) in Kärnten, Plattform Politische Bildung, 2016. (Minority Issues in Carinthia). Pdf-Version.
Jürgen Pirker und Linda Hofmeister, "Kärnten is lei ans" - Vielfalt im Bundesland und darüber hinaus, Plattform Politische Bildung, 2016. (Diversity in the Land and beyond). Pdf-Version.
Jürgen Pirker und Linda Hofmeister, "Ich sehe den Menschen und urteile nach seiner Persönlichkeit, nicht nach seiner Kultur." - Reflexionen von Jugendlichen zu Kärnten und Slowenien - zwischen Heimat, Nation und Europa, in: Karl Anderwald/ Peter Filzmeier/ Karl Hren (Hrsg), Kärntner Jahrbuch für Politik 2015, 2015. (Reflections of Young People on Carinthia and Slovenia - between Homeland, Nation and Europe). Pdf-Version.
Jürgen Pirker, Visionen für Kärnten: "Neue Wege 2020/Nove poti 2020" - Ergebnisse einer Initiative zu Verständigung und politischer Bildung in: Karl Anderwald/Peter Filzmaier/Karl Hren (Hrsg.), Kärntner Jahrbuch für Politik 2014, 2014. (Outcomes of an Initiative for Political Education). Pdf-Version.
Jürgen Pirker, Minderheiten zwischen Recht und Politik - am Beispiel des Kärntner Ortstafelstreits. Anmerkungen zur wechselseitigen Bereicherung von Rechts- und Politikwissenschaft in: Hauser, Werner/Thomasser, Andreas (Hrsg.), Bildung, Wissenschaft, Politik. Instrumente zur Gestaltung der Gesellschaft, Böhlau, Wien/Köln/Graz, 2014. (Minorities between Law and Politics). google-books.