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The Construction of Political Criminality in the Courts of the Dollfuß-Schuschnigg Regime, 1933–38

The project looks at the linguistic construction of political criminality. Its aim is to evaluate the extent of political justice in the Dollfuß-Schuschnigg regime (1933–39) by analysing court records in a (semi-) automated way using computer-assisted methods of text and data mining, corpus linguistics and network analysis.
The project focuses on the different strategies of linguistic construction of political criminality against social democratic, communist and national socialist defendants in the statements of police, public prosecutors and judges within court proceedings. Questions of political marginalisation in court and the limits of plurality and political participation in the regime's (criminal) legal practice will be of particular interest. A sub-project will also look at differences in the judicial prosecution of religion as a political category.

During the project, court records from the period of the Dollfuß-Schuschnigg regime will be digitised and converted into a machine-readable format with the help of Optical Character Recognition. This will allow the creation of a text corpus and the development of a relational data model, which will form the basis for further analyses.
The project has started in autumn 2021.