Long Awaited West: Eastern Europe since 1944

Long Awaited West: Eastern Europe since 1944

Long Awaited West: Eastern Europe since 1944

Long Awaited West: Eastern Europe since 1944

Synopsis

What is Eastern Europe and why is it so culturally and politically separate from the rest of Europe? In Long Awaited West, Stefano Bottoni considers what binds these countries together in an increasingly globalized world. Focusing on economic and social policies, Bottoni explores how Eastern Europe developed and, more importantly, why it remains so distant from the rest of the continent. He argues that this distance arises in part from psychological divides which have only deepened since the global economic crisis of 2008, and provides new insight into Eastern Europe's significance as it finds itself located - both politically and geographically - between a distracted European Union and Russia's increased aggressions.

Excerpt

When was the concept of Eastern Europe born, which territories of Europe were meant to be included in it, and what has remained of it after the end of the Cold War? the meaning of Eastern Europe has been changing continuously. Each scholarly community and political group interprets this expression differently. This might not be surprising, since the term is related to questions of (self-)legitimization and emotions more than to scholarly considerations. As any non–Eastern European historian who deals with Eastern Europe may have already experienced, the difficulty regarding this term tends to arise when “Eastern European” colleagues reject the notion on the ground that it is unsuitable to describe their homeland (though are willing to admit that it might perhaps be meaningfully applied to neighboring countries). While the concept of Eastern Europe is viewed in the West as corresponding to a self-evident reality, many “Eastern Europeans” consider it little more than a historical and moral stigma. This serves to explain the paradox that whereas in the West many distinguished universities offer an area studies program focused on Eastern Europe, thereby recognizing the legitimacy of regional approaches, in the states of the former Soviet Bloc, consciousness of the shared trajectory of Eastern Europe from 1944 to 1989 is gradually fading.

Debates surrounding the geographical, political, and cultural borders of Eastern Europe have produced a large amount of literature in the fields of history, political science, cultural anthropology, and literary studies. the author of the present volume would like to highlight as an introduction to this synthesis three of the previously mentioned issues: the historical and political borders of the region; the original causes of the historical, economic, and social underdevelopment of Eastern Europe; and the complex relationship between the logic of the nation-state and the traditionally multinational character of the region.

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