2005-10-01

Barbarogenije is back, and a little disappointed

The Balkans used to be backward, lazy and violent. No more. The wonderful Ivan Čolović explains why they are now authentic, spontaneous, diverse and passionate. They take pleasure and pain to their extremes. The European Union should be begging to join them. Not the way they are, of course, but the way music publishers would like to be proud of. All this is, says Čolović, a marketing trip from one krajnost to another. Just as the ethnologist Dunja Rihtman-Auguštin "refused to be ashamed of the Balkans when she was expected to be," probably today she would "refuse to envy them, now that it is all the more frequently demanded of us." Because sometimes a Balkan is just a Balkan, and not an existential category.

2 comments:

Yakima_Gulag said...

it's still all labels isn't it? labels which can still be very negative as well as very positive,

'lazy' can equal 'relaxed', 'violent' could equal 'passionate' or 'freedom loveing', 'backward' could mean prefering one's own traditions and customs to someone else's.
'spontaneous' could equal 'unreliable' anyway what strikes me about stereotypes and labeling of Balkans people is that the stereotypes and labels really remind me of stereotypes and labels you see of Middle Eastern peoples.

Yes where one is born, or what is one's language and heritage is what it is, not a matter for envy or for shame either.

Eric Gordy said...

A friend of mine who does research on the history of ethnic stereotypes likes to make the argument that there is really only one stereotype in the world: a distinction between "more civilised" and "less civilised." All of the particular images, jokes, and so on are just permutations od fifferent ways of valorising that and projecting what it might mean.