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Education and Middle-Class Society in Imperial Austria, 1848-1918

Education and Middle-Class Society in Imperial Austria, 1848-1918

Gary B. Cohen
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  • Book Info
    Education and Middle-Class Society in Imperial Austria, 1848-1918
    Book Description:

    This study, the first eng-language book on advanced education in the Austrian lands during the nineteenth century, is recommended for scholars and students in the history of education, modern social history, and the history of the Habsburg Monarchy.

    eISBN: 978-1-61249-071-7
    Subjects: History, Education

Table of Contents

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  1. INTRODUCTION Social Development and Austria’s Modern Educated Elites
    (pp. 1-10)

    Standard historical accounts offer unflattering views of Austria’s middle classes in the nineteenth century. In Austria, as in much of Germany, slower economic and political development than in Western Europe caused the modern middle classes to develop more gradually and achieve less social and political power before 1914. Even after the 1860s, when Austria finally inaugurated constitutional government and representative bodies, the historic forces of the Habsburg dynasty, its officialdom, the aristocracy, and the Catholic Church all retained great power. According to conventional views, the continuing role of the historic elites prevented the modern entrepreneurial and professional middle classes from...

  2. CHAPTER 1 Education and the Modernization of Austria in the Mid-nineteenth Century
    (pp. 11-54)

    Between the 1790s and the early 1840s, Austria’s social and political structures changed slowly compared with Western Europe. In the 1780s Emperor Joseph II abolished the legal status of serfdom, but the great majority of Austrian peasants still had to render labor services or other feudal payments to manorial lords. In the early nineteenth century, modern textile manufacture and metallurgy found footholds in Lower Austria, Bohemia, Moravia, and Vorarlberg, with some additional activity in Styria and Carinthia; but restrictive economic regulations and guild structures persisted in most towns. Traumatized by rebellions in the late 1780s and then by the French...

  3. CHAPTER 2 Opening the Gates Expansion of the Educational Network
    (pp. 55-94)

    In the 1850s and 1860s Austria’s educational authorities launched an ambitious program of institutional development. They wanted a modern educational system comparable to the best in the neighboring European states. Austria’s secondary schools, universities, and technical colleges were expected to develop as distinguished centers of learning. In more utilitarian terms, these institutions were to produce the professionals, technical personnel, and educated employees required to assure order and prosperity in a modern society. The reformers of the 1850s and 1860s expected the educational system to grow in numbers of institutions and people served, but they could hardly have expected the expansion...

  4. CHAPTER 3 Guarding the Gates The Social Politics of Education after 1880
    (pp. 95-126)

    The expanding enrollments in Austrian secondary and higher education during the late nineteenth century evoked much concern among officials, professional groups, and interested citizens. Some educators worried about the effects of overcrowding on students and on the quality of their education. Some students and their parents also feared the impact on prospects for successful professional careers. Conservative officials and elected representatives worried about the threats to social stability of producing more educated persons than were actually needed. They complained that the popular infatuation with academic education and the professions was only denying to other necessary occupations talented youth who might...

  5. CHAPTER 4 The Changing Ethnic and Religious Recruitment of Students
    (pp. 127-169)

    We contradictory notions about the recruitment and social status of educated elites in Central Europe during the late nineteenth century. Even on the eve of World War I, no more than 3.0 percent of the school-aged population in Germany and Austria attended academic secondary schools, and only around 1.5 percent of the prime age groups were enrolled in universities and technical colleges. In numerical terms secondary and higher education still served only small segments of the German and Austrian populations, and advanced education brought considerable privileges and prestige. Reporting to the Silesian Provincial School Board in 1880, one Austrian school...

  6. CHAPTER 5 The Limits of Opportunity Students’ Occupational and Class Origins
    (pp. 170-211)

    The geographical, ethnic, and religious recruitment of students clearly broadened as the networks of Austrian secondary and higher education expanded during the late nineteenth century. Analysis of the students’ occupational and class origins confirms the impression of broad recruitment. Secondary and higher education in Austria did more than help perpetuate the status and privileges of propertied and educated elites from one generation to the next. During much of the late nineteenth century, as we shall see, majorities of the students in the universities and technical colleges of Vienna and Prague, for example, were the children of lower-middle-class fathers who lacked...

  7. CHAPTER 6 The Social Experience of Students The Many Paths of Academic Education
    (pp. 212-248)

    Secondary and higher education help to select and prepare youth socially for learned pursuits as well as equip them intellectually. Advanced education in late-nineteenth-century Austria was expected, of course, to transmit the specific knowledge needed in various professions. Of equal importance, secondary and higher education were also to help develop character and a more generalBildung,the basic intellectual abilities and broader fund of knowledge in the humanities and sciences that were considered essential to cultivation. At the same time, whether graduates eventually had successful professional careers or not, simply completing secondary school, passing theMatura,and then going on...

  8. CONCLUSION Education, Society, and the State in the Late Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 249-270)

    As Austria modernized its secondary and higher education after 1848, enrollments grew remarkably, but that expansion paralleled developments in much of Western and Central Europe. In France the rate of secondary school attendance relative to the school-aged population increased by 53 percent between 1854 and 1911. Between 1876 and 1911, enrollments in French public higher education more than tripled relative to the population aged nineteen to twenty-two years.¹ In Prussia secondary school enrollments relative to the school-aged population increased by nearly 40 percent between 1870 and 1911. Throughout Germany, the number of matriculated university students relative to all twenty- to...

  9. APPENDIX A Supplementary Tables
    (pp. 271-292)
  10. APPENDIX B Statistical Methods
    (pp. 293-300)