Penser les Balkans aujourd'hui : l’orientalisme, le balkanisme, et la question de la modernité


Present Reflections on the Balkans: Orientalism, Balkanism and the Issue of Modernity

This paper aims at investigating the positions of the Balkans in our contemporary world in its continuous change – for instance the rapid Europeanization for the protection of a common inheritance of Balkan countries. Moreover, this historical heritage is sometimes presented as a simple burden that should be overcome: the name Balkan has negative connotations, being associated with violence or primitivism. The criticism of this type of derogatory discourse called « Balkanism » is built on the deconstruction of Orientalism as initiated in the 70’s by Edward Said. In this paper, we will analyze the various types of possible objections to this Balkan approach (the absence of a colonial past, the non-existence of a « Balkan » academic tradition, the Balkan preciseness as opposed to the Oriental vagueness, as well as their not purely « oriental », yet undetermined character). Furthermore I will present the arguments in favour of another way of interpreting the Balkans which consists in the understanding of the narrower relation between European modernity and history.

Keywords: Orientalism, Balkanism, deconstruction, modernity, Europe, marginality

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