The volume emerged from the Wittgenstein Research Center project on "Discourse, Politics, and Identity," an interdisciplinary investigation of the meaning of Austrian neutrality. The first two chapters analyze the current meaning of Austrian neutrality. Karin Liebhart records narrative interviews with former presidents Rudolf Kirchschlger and Kurt Waldheim, both central political actors present at the creation and implementation of Austria's postwar neutrality. Gertraud Benke and Ruth Wodak provide in-depth analysis of a debate on Austrian National Television on "NATO and Neutrality," a microcosm of Austrian popular opinion that exposed all positions and ideological preferences on neutrality. The historian Oliver Rathkolb surveys international perceptions of Austrian neutrality over the past half-century. For comparative contrast David Irwin and John Wilson apply Foucault's theoretical framework to the history and debates on neutrality in Ireland. Political scientists Heinz Grtner and Paul Luif provide examples of how Austrian neutrality has been handled in the past and today. Michael Gehler analyzes Austria's response to the Hungarian crisis of 1956 and Klaus Eisterer reviews the Austrian legation's handling of the 1968 Czechoslovak crisis.
Gnter Bischof is professor of history and executive director of Center Austria at the University of New Orleans. Anton Pelinka is professor of political science at the University of Innsbruck and director of the Institute of Conflict Research in Vienna. Ruth Wodak is professor in the linguistics department at the University of Vienna and director of the research center "Discourse, Politics, Identity" at the Austrian Academy of Science.