Author:Reinhard Bodner (University of Innsbruck)
Paper short abstract:
The paper presents a research project investigating social practices around "folk costumes" in Tyrol. The main focus is the movement of "Costume Renewal" before, during and after the NS era. This also involves questions on the social and political significance of "Tyrolean costumes" today.
Paper long abstract:
The paper presents a research project investigating social practices around "folk costumes" in Tyrol since ca. 1900. Originating from a public debate (since 2011) on questions of dealing with different aspects of "folk culture" from the NS era, the project focuses on historic and contemporary constructions of meaning and identity. One central aspect, linked to the name Gertrud Pesendorfer (1895-1982), is Innsbruck's historic role as a centre of "Costume Renewal" ("Trachtenerneuerung") after Austria's "Anschluss" to the German Reich. In 1939, Pesendorfer was authorized by the National Socialist Women's League ("Reichsfrauenschaft") to conduct a national mediation-agency for "the German costume" ("Mittelstelle Deutsche Tracht"). Based in the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum ("Tiroler Volkskunstmuseum"), this agency enabled Pesendorfer to continue and extend her work on traditional clothing she had begun in the early 1930s. The Mittelstelle organized surveys all over the German Reich and in South Tyrol, in order to create renewed or new regional costumes. The paper aims to reconstruct these activities and their ideological implications as well as Pesendorfer's ongoing influence after 1945. This also raises questions on the social and political significance of "Tyrolean costumes" today: how (under-)determined are they by history? The project combines archival and field research, bringing together actors who are in a very close physical, emotional and professional relationship to costumes, for instance as wearers, tailors and dealers. And it has to cope with the fact that some of them do not want to the focus of (academic) research.
Folk costume in the ritual year and beyond: heritage, identity marker & symbolic object (Ritual Year SIEF Working Group panel)