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The Eschenburg Controversy in German Political Science


Hubertus Buchstein

University of Greifswald, DE
About Hubertus
I would like to thank Sandra H. Lustig for the translation and her critical questions and suggestions. In addition, I would like to thank Jodi Dean, Rainer Eisfeld, Frank Fischer, Michael Hein, Tobias Müller, Kari Palonen, Kerstin Pohl, and Rieke Trimcev for fruitful discussions about the topic and/or critical comments on an earlier version of the manuscript . – The author was a member of the Executive Committee (Vorstand) of the German Political Science Association (Deutsche Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaft, DVPW) starting in 2006 and served as its president from 2009 to 2012; as the DVPW’s former president, he served as a member of the Council (Beirat) from 2012 to 2015 and was also involved in the association’s decisions. This article presents the author’s personal views and is not an official DVPW statement on the naming debate.
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This article discusses one of the latest accounts of recent German Vergangenheitsbewältigung, the controversy over Theodor Eschenburg. The controversy started in the spring of 2011 within the German Political Science Association (DVPW). The debate produced numerous articles in German newspapers and more than two dozen contributions in political science journals between 2011 and 2016. It was the most heated historico-political dispute among German political scientists after 1945. The article discusses the pros and cons in this controversy and explains why the debate became so heated. In addition, it discusses the factors that influenced political scientists to take sides in the controversy. The author, a former president of DVPW, was actively involved in this debate which brought the association to the brink of division at its climax in 2013.

How to Cite: Buchstein, Hubertus. 2017. “The Eschenburg Controversy in German Political Science”. Redescriptions: Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory 20 (1): 85–115. DOI:
Published on 01 Apr 2017.
Peer Reviewed


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