Education to Morality. Protection and Exclusion in Catholic Youth Work in Bavaria 1918-1945


Franziska Nicolay-Fischbach’s dissertation project investigates Catholic ideas and ideals in child care as well as how they were put into practice in Bavaria between 1918 and 1945. The study’s aim is to provide an exemplary representation of Catholic Bavarian education history, thus filling an important gap and research need. As an analogue to socialization research, the Catholic educational ideals and practice at a variety of levels will be investigated: At the institutional level (bishops’ conferences, episcopal guidelines, pastoral instruction, state foundations, etc.), the personal level (parents, families, and pastoral care), and education provided by laypeople and lay associations. The cross-section of these “levels of education” is explored through the history of experience and everyday life, but also within the context of contemporary discourses on education, imaginations of contemporary moralities, pedagogy, and catechism. Catholic educational paradigms are to be identified and to be examined as they apply to practical educational efforts.

The doctoral project will establish possible areas of latitude in modern education practices alongside rigid adherence to Catholic social ethics, but also potential areas of competition, for example, between youth associations and episcopal guidelines. The long period taken into account by the study, moreover, allows for the determination of continuities and fractures with regard to discourses, ideals, and practices. The project, for example, will examine whether the Catholic educational ideals and institutions contained spaces for “pedagogical resistance” against Nazi educational ideals. Sources will be taken from the relevant holdings of the Bavarian Diocesan Archive as well as documents on various Catholic educational institutions and associations (Christian Mothers’ Association, youth welfare associations, associations for the protection of girls, etc.), which partly remain in still-existing institutions, or else in partially indexed parish archives.

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