Article ahead of print – Twilight of the Proletariat: Reading Critical Balkanology as Liberal Ideology
by Rade Zinaić
Inspired above all by Edward Said’s Orientalism, Critical Balkanology unveils and criticises the ways of depicting Balkans in the dominant Western narrative. Under the Western gaze, the Balkans is imagined – and desired – as a savage place, Europe’s always already inflamed “soft underbelly” haunted by the ghosts of its past, a “powder keg” waiting to explode once again. In “The Twilight of the Proletariat”, Rade Zinaić embraces how Critical Balkanology undermines the epistemic violence behind these stereotypes. However, he argues that it only replaces it with another form of violence: that of middle-class liberal ideology that obscures and erases the plight of the most marginalised members of society, “refugees, labourers, women, veterans, orphans, Roma, and students.” In a fascinating polemic with Tomislav Longinović’s Vampire Nation, Zinaić shows not only how the culturalist approaches of Critical Balkanology are blind to the question of class, but also how they are complicit with the hegemonic liberal ideology.
Read the piece in Online First.