Entangled Paths towards Modernity: Contextualizing Socialism and Nationalism in the Balkans

Entangled Paths towards Modernity: Contextualizing Socialism and Nationalism in the Balkans

Entangled Paths towards Modernity: Contextualizing Socialism and Nationalism in the Balkans

Entangled Paths towards Modernity: Contextualizing Socialism and Nationalism in the Balkans

Synopsis

This is an important and innovative comparative study of socialist movements and regimes of modernization in the Balkans, encompassing Serbian populism, Bulgarian social democracy and Greek communism. It makes an original contribution both to the history of political ideas and to the political sociology of radical and socialist movements. It provides a fascinating account of the transplantation of ideologies that were adopted from Western Europe and from Russia into the very different environment of the Balkans, and traces their adaptation and their reception in this new environment.

Excerpt

The current work makes use of the analytical advantages offered both by transfer and comparative studies. Far from agreeing on their methodological incompatibility or mutual exclusiveness, pointedly argued by some of the most articulate proponents of either fields, this study makes a strong case for their methodological complementarity. With no pretensions to constitute a new paradigm, transfer studies have raised a whole agenda of methodological issues that deserve attention when studying transnational processes of cultural and intellectual transmission. the current study embraces several of the sensitivities raised by transfer theorists, whose contribution most pertinent to this work on the transfer of socialist paradigms is the emphasis on the dynamic and creative character of the transmission and diffusion process. Cultural clusters or ideas are not mechanically “empted” from one context into another. Transfer is rather a process “in the making,” containing elements both of innovation and transformation. As a consequence, the transport of cultural and intellectual “goods” is an activity that resembles more a “translation” (both literal and metaphorical), involving multiple strategies (rhetorical, cultural, social, political engineering) of adaptation, in contrast to an assumed mechanical, static, or simply mimetic activity of transfer from one context to another. Commonly referred to as the history of reception, a variety of local components determines the form of adaptation and recontextualization of a paradigm. As will be demonstrated, reception is a creative and communicative action involving multiple levels of negotiation with a given context. Adaptation, the way an ideological system can be rendered intelligible for a society, is contingent on a variety of conditions and proceeds according to a menu of options but also of limitations.

The necessity to readdress the transfer of socialist paradigms to the European periphery was motivated by some additional considerations. the historiography of the history of socialism in the Balkans has remained, to a certain extent, entrenched and predictably polarized. Whereas communist historiography has discussed the adaptation . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.