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We, the People

Politics of National Peculiarity in Southeastern Europe

Edited by
Diana Mishkova, Centre for Advanced Study, Sofia, Bulgaria

Analyzes the processes of nation-building in nineteenth and early-twentieth-century south-eastern Europe. A product of transnational comparative teamwork, this collection represents a coordinated interpretation based on ten varied academic cultures and traditions.

The originality of the approach lies in a combination of three factors: [a] seeing nation-building as a process that is to a large extent driven by intellectuals and writers, rather than just a side effect of infrastructural modernization processes; [b] looking at the regional, cross-border ramifications of these processes (rather than in a rigid single-country-by-country perspective) and [c] looking at the autonomous role of intellectuals in these areas, rather than just seeing south-eastern Europe as an appendix to Europe-at-large, passively undergoing European influences.

The essays explore the political instrumentalization of the concepts of folk, people and ethnos in south-eastern Europe in the “long 19th century” by mapping the discursive and institutional itineraries through which this set of notions became a focal point of cultural and political thought in various national contexts; a process that coincided with the emergence of political modernity.


"In the history of emerging national awareness in Europe, the formerly Ottoman- and Habsburg-ruled regions in the continent’s South-East present a case of unusual complexity and interest. South-East Europe combines geopolitical regional cohesion and ethno-linguistic diversity, and witnessed the emergence of a complex cluster of both early and tardy nation-building movements in close proximity and overlap, antagonism and exchange. Hitherto largely underresearched (owing to political conditions and ingrained preconceptions), this south-eastern microcosm of Europe now takes its proper place in the panorama of European intellectual history thanks to this excellent volume. We, the People is a landmark book. It applies the latest theoretical insights and comparatist approaches to a wealth of relevant and fascinating case studies, which, besides their intrinsic importance, are now made available for comparative European and macro-regional historical research."
Prof. dr J. Th. Leerssen, Chair of Modern European Literature, University of Amsterdam


Contents

 Introduction; Part I. Ethnos and Citizens: Versions of Cultural-Political Construction of Identity Alexander Vezenkov, Reconciliation of the Spirits and Fusion of the Interests: “Ottomanism” as an Identity Politics; Kinga-Koretta Sata, The People Incorporated: Constructions of the Nation in Transylvanian Romanian Liberalism, 1838-1848; Tchavdar Marinov, “We, the Macedonians”: The Paths of Macedonian Supra-Nationalism (1878-1912); Balázs Trencsényi , History and Character: Visions of National Peculiarity in the Romanian Political Discourse of the Nineteenth Century; Part II. Nationalization of Sciences and the Definitions of the Folk Dessislava Lilova, Barbarians, Civilized People and Bulgarians: Definition of Identity in Textbooks and the Press (1830-1878); Levente Szabó, Narrating ’the People’ and ’Disciplining’ the Folk: the Constitution of the Hungarian Ethnographic Discipline and the Touristic Movements (1870-1900); Stefan Detchev , Who are the Bulgarians? “Race”, Science and Politics in Fin-de-Siècle Bulgaria ; Călin Cotoi, Imagining of National Spaces in Interwar Romania. The Emergence of Geopolitics; Part III. The Canon-Builders Bojan Aleksov, Jovan Jovanović Zmaj and the Serbian Identity between Poetry and History; Artan Puto, “Ottoman” or “Western”: Two Version of Albanianness at the turn of the 19th century; Bülent Bilmez, A Contested Nation-Builder: Þemseddin Sami Frashëri (1850-1904) and the Construction of Albanian and Turkish Nations; Notes on the Contributors; Index

2009
392 pages
ISBN 978-963-9776-28-9 cloth $55.00 / €50.00 / £45.00

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