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Survival of Utopias – Weiterlebende Utopien

Life Reform and Progressive Education in Austria and Hungary – Lebensreform und Reformpädagogik in Österreich und Ungarn


Edited By András Németh, Claudia Stöckl and Beatrix Vincze

Life reform and progressive education developed various utopias and projected new ways of cultural, social, religious and political living. This book studies how these utopias lived on until World War II, how they still affect present life in Austria and Hungary, and it examines continuities and differences within the political, educational and cultural movements of both countries. The main focus lies on interrelations between educational utopias and strategies and the development of a collective identity in times of radical political and social changes.

Lebensreform und Reformpädagogik entwarfen Utopien für das kulturelle, soziale und religiöse Leben. Dieses Buch untersucht das Weiterleben dieser Utopien bis zum Beginn des zweiten Weltkrieges, ihre Wirkungen bis in die Gegenwart in Österreich und Ungarn und beleuchtet Kontinuitäten und Differenzen innerhalb der (bildungs-)politischen und kulturellen Strömungen beider Länder. Im Zentrum steht die Frage nach Zusammenhängen zwischen pädagogischen Utopien und Strategien und den Entwicklungen von kollektiver Identität in Zeiten politischer und gesellschaftlicher Umbrüche und Verunsicherungen.

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How Austro-German Life Reform efforts were received based on the examples of the Szentendre Bubán colony and ‘Életreform’ magazine (Andrea Nagy & András Németh)


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Andrea Nagy & András Németh

How Austro-German Life Reform efforts were received based on the examples of the Szentendre Bubán colony and ‘Életreform’ magazine

Life Reform was the summary name of the movements which were critical of modernisation that unfolded throughout Western Europe and America in the last third of the 19th century. The main idea of these movements was the return to nature and naturality, authotherapy and wholeness (Németh 2013, pp. 11–12). The movement, which combined multitudinous spiritual influences, initially focused on healthy eating and lifestyle but after a prelude of several decades it expanded to include alternative medicine, spiritual orientation and vegetarianism (For details on the major international proceedings see Krabbe 1974, 2001; Linse 1977; Conti 1984; Baumgartner 1992; Kerbs/Reuleche 1998; Farkas 2008, 2010). By that time behind the reform efforts had been wide institutional infrastructure such as clubs and associations, media outlets, hospitals, communes, reform shops and reform restaurants.

Unique features of the movement were the communal communities that tried to find ways to escape the impersonalisation of modern industrial society by focusing on community life (Németh 2014, p. 22). The rapid social and economic changes not only consolidated progression and continuous development but also brought a critical approach which was first reflected in fin de siècle intellectual-philosophical circles and later on in political-social movements. The communal movement which unfolded as part of life reform can be understood as a...

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