Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Regionale Identitäten und Urbanität. Überlegungen am Beispiel einer europäischen Kernlandschaft: Franken

Helmut Flachenecker


People live in cultural landscapes which they create and consistently change. In order to understand the entire process involved, it is essential to consider the findings about the historical development of the region and its people for recent regional and future-oriented planning. The self-conception and self-awareness of a regional population is based on its culturally shaped surroundings. For example, a castle, a monastery, a medieval city ensemble or even prehistorical discoveries can become the central point of regional self-conception though the building may have lost its former significance a long time ago.

In this essay, the relation between the cities of a region around 1500 and the identity of the people who live there will be discussed. The region is called Franconia, now a part of Northern Bavaria and Northeast Baden-Wurttemberg. Up to 1806 it never was under a united leadership: Kings, Bishops, Princes, Knights and Imperial Cities had their separate domains. This kind of plurality created a huge diversity in the cultural landscape – up to present days.

The regional historian can contribute to this whole process of regionalization and identification with his/her research. He/She is part of a team consisting of archaelogists, geographers, political scientists, economists and social scientists. It is not his/her goal to continue with an archaic and outdated local historical approach but rather to implement his/her entire range of methodologies concentrated on a small region. The regional historian’s guideline is: “Within boundaries boundless opportunities.. This approach can give a detailed description of the historical development of a certain region and its population over centuries. With the diminishing focus on national history, the regional historian is able to pursue a ‘histoire totale’ for a certain region. By using this methodological approach, the historian offers a template of historical research which could also be used by other European regions.

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