Iconoclastic Fragments of Thought about the Terms „Southeastern Europe“ and „East Central Europe“ Cover Image
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Ikonoklastische Gedankenfragmente zu den Begriffen „Südosteuropa“ und „Ostmitteleuropa“
Iconoclastic Fragments of Thought about the Terms „Southeastern Europe“ and „East Central Europe“

Author(s): M. János Bak
Subject(s): History
Published by: De Gruyter Oldenbourg

Summary/Abstract: In this sketch – originally a discussion opener – the author argues about the limited usefulness of such general terms as „Southeast Europe“ and „East Central Europe“. While the former was initially non-political, it became highly charged during the Nazi period, only to lose any political significance thereafter. Because of the highly varied historical and cultural conditions of the area, i. e. the Balkans, it is problematic as an auxiliary term for historical research. East Central Europe (though vaguely related to earlier „Mitteleuropa“ concepts), was in fact a political construct of the late twentieth century. It was conceived as a chiffre for the European satellites of the USSR, which were protesting against their inclusion into the Soviet orbit. Because this argument was made in historical terms, the notion survived the end of the Soviet bloc. Looking from a historical perspective, it also seems to be of limited value, because the “region” and its homogeneity has changed much across the centuries. As an alternative to these terms, the author suggests comparative historical and political studies based on inherent criteria, such as natural surroundings, ways of life, cultural identities and the like.

  • Issue Year: 2010
  • Issue No: 69/70
  • Page Range: 389-396
  • Page Count: 8
  • Language: German