Three Eras of Political Change in Eastern Europe

By Gale Stokes | Go to book overview

2
Dependency and the Rise of Nationalism in Southeast Europe

A successful theory of nationalism in Southeast Europe must incorporate all three lines of approach that hitherto have been taken to the problem: parallel interpretation, diffusion theory, and structual. explanation. The first of these approaches seeks to identify in Ottoman Europe processes similar to those that produced nationalism in Western Europe, emphasizing indigenous developments and often concentrating on a single country. 1 Diffusion theory is associated with the name of Hans Kohn, who suggested that East European nationalism was the intellectual stepchild of the German romantic enlightenment, which was itself a reaction against French rationalism; categorization is the speciality of this school and typologies are its strength. 2 Finally, structural explanations see nationalism as only one aspect of large social and economic changes that occurred over long periods of time and in several places. 3

The salient aspects of all these approaches can become part of a theory of nationalism in Southeast Europe that is based on the idea of dependency. The Balkans have always been a dependent area in the sense that a cultural or political system sufficiently strong to become a model for others has never arisen there. The Balkans were borderlands of the Roman Empire and cultural appendages of the Byzantine Commonwealth. With the coming of the Ottomans, they remaned oriented toward the metropole to the South, Constantinople, now in its Muslim and Turkish form, Istanbul. But during the nineteenth century, by which time the Ottoman Empire

From International Journal of Turkish Studies, 1 ( 1980), pp. 54-67. Reprinted by permission

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