|About the Book|
Balkan. Somewhere between a tragedy and a myth, a place and a condition, the term is perhaps best understood as a metaphor. It has been used and abused inacademia by proponents of opposing political views. Multiculturalism hasappropriated it, as haveMoreBalkan. Somewhere between a tragedy and a myth, a place and a condition, the term is perhaps best understood as a metaphor. It has been used and abused inacademia by proponents of opposing political views. Multiculturalism hasappropriated it, as have postmodernism and postcommunism. It is used pejoratively torefer to excessive specialization and nostalgically to refer to Europes lost people-- its wild warriors and passionate geniuses. This book explores the idea of theBalkan as metaphor and the meaning of Balkan identity in the context of contemporaryculture. Focusing on Balkanism both as a body of knowledge and as the critical studyof that discourse, this book does for the Balkans what Edward Saids Orientalism didfor the Orient.The sixteen authors, most of whom were born and educated in theBalkans, apply the Western academic tools of postmodernism, poststructuralism, deconstruction, psychoanalysis, and critical multiculturalism to topics as varied asthe rhetoric of Balkanization, the war in Kosovo, Western demonization anderotization of the Serbs, Balkan film, human rights legislation, Byzantinism, thevampire as an image of Balkan violence, envy of the political and moral capital ofvictimhood, the tendency of the Balkan psyche toward depression, Serbian machismoand homosexuality, and wartime rape. The book both lays the groundwork for a newfield of study and serves as an act of resistance against the many forms ofrepresentation that break the Balkans into fragments such as NATO army bases anddigital maps in order to wire them into the global market.