Dopsch, Alfons

Dopsch, Alfons

 

Born June 14, 1868, in Lobozits, present-day Lovosice, Czechoslovakia; died Sept. 1, 1953, in Vienna. Austrian historian concerned primarily with the agrarian history of Western Europe in the Middle Ages. Professor at the University of Vienna from 1900 to 1937.

From Dopsch’s point of view, history knows no qualitative leaps or revolutionary upheavals, the historical process is devoid of any lawlike progressive character, and all historically known economic forms are encountered at all stages of history. He identified social relations in the late Roman Empire with those of the early Middle Ages, and he depicted the German tribes that conquered Rome’s provinces as the preservers of the Roman civilization and state. Modernizing history, Dopsch attempted to refute the notion of the natural character of the early medieval economy and prove the existence of “manor capitalism,” a manifestation of which, in his opinion, was the organization of the manorial economy to make profits.

Although he was a major expert on historical sources, Dopsch selected and interpreted them tendentiously. He was one of the leading exponents of the so-called “critical orientation” in bourgeois historiography. His views, which were a striking reflection of the crisis of the theoretical and methodological foundations of bourgeois medieval studies, greatly influenced reactionary bourgeois historiography.

WORKS

Die Wirtschaftsentwicklung der Karolingerzeit vornehmlich in Deutschland, vols. 1-2, 3rd ed. Weimar, 1962.
Wirtschaftliche und soziale Grundlagen der europäischen Kulturentwicklung aus der Zeit von Cäsar bis auf Karl den Grossen,2nd ed., vols. 1-2. Vienna, 1923-24.
Naturalwirtschaft und Geldwirtschaft in der Weltgeschichte. Vienna, 1930.
Herrschaft und Bauer in der deutschen Kaiserzeit. Jena, 1939.

REFERENCES

Gratsianskii, N. P. Iz sotsial’no-ekonomicheskoi istorii zapadnoevropeiskogo srednevekov’ia. (Collection of articles.) Moscow, 1960.
Danilov, A. I. “K kritike dopshianskoi kontseptsii rannesrednevekovoi votchiny.” In the collection Srednie veka, no. 9. Moscow, 1957.

A. I. DANILOV

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