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We, the People. Politics of National Peculiarity in Southeastern Europe

We, the People. Politics of National Peculiarity in Southeastern Europe Diana Mishkova - Editor
Budapest-New York: CEU Press 2009

The essays explore the political instrumentalization of the concepts of folk, people and ethnos in Southeastern Europe in the “long 19 th century”. They map 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. The originality of their approach lies in a combination of three factors: 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; looking at the regional, cross-border ramifications of these processes (rather than in a rigid single-country-by-country perspective); and looking at the autonomous role of intellectuals in these areas, rather than just seeing Southeastern Europe as an appendix to Europe-at-large, passively undergoing European influences.

This book is a product of transnational comparative teamwork, and this collection of essays represents a coordinated interpretation based on ten varied academic cultures and traditions.

Diana Mishkova is Professor of Modern History of Southeastern Europe, a founder and the Director of the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia.


Diana Mishkova, Introduction: Towards a Framework

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 T. 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

Part III. The Canon-Builders

- Bojan Aleksov, Jovan Jovanović Zmaj and the Serbian Identity between Poetry and History

- Artan Puto, Faik Konitza, the Modernizer of the Albanian Language and Nation

- Bülent Bilmez, Shemseddin Sami Frashëri (1850-1904): Contributing to the Construction of Albanian and Turkish Identities

Notes on the Contributors

“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 ---

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