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“Eastern Europe”, “Balkanism” and “European-ness” in the works of Gabriel Liiceanu and Slavenka Drakulić

Remete, Anamaria (2019) “Eastern Europe”, “Balkanism” and “European-ness” in the works of Gabriel Liiceanu and Slavenka Drakulić. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The thesis proposes a critical reading of the discourse of “Europe” and “European-ness”. I argue eastern European writers have internalized the imagery reproduced by these discourses in which “Eastern Europe” is cast as an inferior Other. With a postcolonial critique in mind I propose a critical reading of the works of two contemporary east European writers and intellectuals, Romanian Gabriel Liiceanu and Croatian Slavenka Drakulić.

Intellectuals in eastern Europe have had a curious mix of responses to the discourse of “Eastern Europe” from acceptance, resistance, adaptation, transformation to rejection of “Europe”, “Eastern Europe” and “Balkanism”. They have crafted distinctly-new sites of resistance and post-socialist subjectivities, modes of inhabiting and belonging to contested geographies that previous paradigms have failed to properly capture.

I argue that Liiceanu and Drakulić’s writings reveal the contested and enduring relationship that east European intellectuals have had with the idea of “Europe”. Their accounts complicate the image of a neatly divided Europe, and challenge the idea of a coherent and stable East and West.

Liiceanu and Drakulić participate as agents in negotiating the idea of “Europe”. These texts are spaces in which intellectuals and political elites imagine Europe and their place in the world, articulate an entirely distinct vocabulary of belonging and exclusion. Discussing their writing provides an opportunity to challenge the construction of the idea of “Europe”.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Creative Media, Arts and Design
Supervisor(s): Mishra, Vijay, Trees, Kathryn and Surma, Anne
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