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From Acculturation to Interaction: A New Perspective on the History of the Jews in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna

The article focuses on the question of Jewish identity in Vienna around the turn of the twentieth century. It departs from the thesis that the relationship between Jews and non-Jews cannot be described adequately by terms such as acculturation. Instead, attention should be paid to interactive processes between them. It will be shown that this can be done by replacing the model of "culture as text," which is a static concept, by a more dynamic notion of culture, such as "culture as performance." In applying the new perspective to the history of the Jewish–non-Jewish relationship, it is possible to reach new insights. This approach will be outlined by references to the Viennese Jewish museum, the Yiddish theatre in the Habsburg capital, and two well-known Jewish figures in late nineteenth-century Vienna, Joseph Samuel Bloch and Theodor Herzl.

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