Adapting National Socialist imagery: Ambitious amateur films between media reception and self-visualization


Fr, 25/05/2018 – 09:30


St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, European Studies Center (ESC), 62 Woodstock Road, Oxford, United Kingdom, OX2 6JF

Presentation by Michaela Scharf at the Weizsäcker Conference: „Audiences of Nazism: Media Effects and Responses, 1923-1945”

The talk focuses on historical forms of self-representation in ambitious amateur films from National Socialist Austria following a praxeological approach.

Based on Michel Foucault’s concept of “technologies of the self”, amateur film production can be understood as a practice of subjectivation which must be analysed as a function of the specific technological constitutions of the medium. Both the filmmakers and the persons acting in front of the camera produce a specific understanding of themselves during the filming process. The filmmakers decide which moments of their lives are worth of being filmed and therefore remembered. The amateur films show both the filmmakers’ personal visions of life as well as the filmed persons’ ideals and moral concepts following a cultural repertoire of images, gestures and facial expressions. The paper centres the suitable motifs and methods for filmic self-representation proposed by German-language periodicals, magazines and handbooks as well as actual amateur films from the 1930s and 1940s. By means of selected film examples it especially examines the adaption of National Socialist imagery in Austrian amateur films and explores the specific strategies the filmmakers pursue to visualize their relation to the Nazi regime.

Veranstalter: St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, European Studies Center (ESC)