Re: Foucault and Balkans..

the Mazower's claim saying that untill 19 th century ethnic classifications
were not on the agenda in Balkans is absolutely true.Islamic Ottoman
structure was a melting pot for religions and nations because it didnt have
a feudal background and destroyed every kingdom like substance which could
foster a nationalistic upheval on its path..the system was sui generis .As
a result people on the region fell behind gaining a nationalistic concious.
On this context i can understand Bulgarian Jivko's every bitter
evaluations.. and his identity crisis as well..
-----Original Message-----
From: Jivko Georgiev <jivkox43georgiev@xxxxxxxxx>
To: foucault@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: 17 Temmuz 2001 Salý 13:36
Subject: Re: Il faut defendre Foucault

>Personally me, I am Bulgarian. First: The Balkans are
>not "area" or "region". This is one of those matrix
>like that of the nationalism, which the west
>constructed and applied to us, and then claim it is a
>definition they found in the nature of our existence.
>Isn't that so much Foucauldian? The Balkans is very
>ancient and very culturally developed world - here the
>specific civilization was born, which the west , wild
>and noncivilized in the beginning , adopted lately and
>claimed "We are the civilization!". Foucault knew
>that: In Surveiller and Punir he wrote "we are not
>Greeks" I am glad you read Mazower book, I read only
>the review. About the argument between our church and
>the greek church - the sermons were in greek. My guys
>couldnt understand a single word of the sermons. It
>doesnt matter if we are botrh orthodox, when you go
>to hear a sermon you must understand it.
>About everything else: 19th century was the time ,
>when Balkans were free from the Ottoman empire and the
>borders of the states should be redefined, so the west
>was completely involved in that process and the west
>thaught to us to be nationalistic. Nowadays funny
>weird blond Americans are coming to Bulgaria, pointing
>finger at us and saying " Do You love your Turks?!"
>and we say "What is wrong with those weirdoes? We
>never divided the people of Bulgaria to
>Christians/Muslims? Why they ask us do we love them?
>We never made DIFFERENCE! Why they want from us to
>make difference?!" Do you understand the comedy of the
>western politics? First they say : 1. "You must
>recognize someone in your country as different, and
>thats why you must hate him!" And after that: 2. " We
>will punish you for making difference, because we are
>the justice!" And then again : "we , the west , we are
>making difference - You are wild, we are civilized!" I
>dont know if I made it clear how the west is forcing
>us to make difference, to be nationalistic. I remember
>how a American came to a Muslim village in Bulgaria
>asking people if they were repressed for being Turks,
>so a villager responded her: "Lady,,please, I have
>importenant work to do right now, dont bother
>As for was Foucault philosopher. Philosophy is not a
>DISCIPLINE :-)) divided from other DISCIPLINES :-)).
>A philosopher does not devides in to DISCIPLINES :-)).
>Foucault never puted him self in DISCIPLINE :-))
>That is why he was philosopher! But I assume you dont
>have philosophy education, and thats why you dont
>get not the NONSPECIFITY of his philosophy!
>--- Stuart Elden <stuart.elden@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Jivko,
>> I hesitate to respond, given the insulting stupidity
>> of your
>> generalisations about 'Arabs'. Is not the move from
>> the specific
>> instance to the generalisation, and then from a
>> generalisation to a '
>> what else do we expect?', indicative of precisely
>> the matters at stake
>> here?
>> In part then, these observations are more for the
>> list generally
>> Larry has usefully pointed out two things - first
>> that your argument
>> that because something 'originated' in the West, it
>> is only ever
>> Western is a very peculiar and misleading
>> suggestion; and second that
>> no one was suggesting Foucault _was_ a nationalist,
>> but that - contrary
>> to your statement - he did think it a topic worthy
>> of analysis.
>> As for the Mazower book supporting your contention,
>> well, it's not
>> nearly as simple as that. I've read the Mazower book
>> (in the Weidenfeld
>> & Nicolson edition), and it's a very readable guide
>> to some of the key
>> issues surrounding the Balkans. As I stated in a
>> previous post I am no
>> expert on this area, so I can't really pass real
>> judgement on the
>> claims of the book, but I can express some
>> skepticism about the claims
>> of the review.
>> Mazower suggests that linguistic or ethnic
>> differences did not
>> necessarily have much value in the region until the
>> 19th century. He
>> gives the example of a church sermon being in Greek
>> or Bulgarian. The
>> priest and the congregation can't understand why a
>> someone is
>> suggesting that it should be in their own language
>> of Bulgarian - what
>> does it matter, they are all orthodox Christians? So
>> here is a cleavage
>> based on religion - they are all Orthodox
>> Christians, and not Muslims
>> or Turks.
>> (Nationality and consequent nationalism have, of
>> course, not always
>> been based on language or ethnicity... religion and
>> shared heritage,
>> values, etc. these have all played a part in the
>> language of
>> nationalism too - look at the struggles within the
>> previous empires of
>> the region)
>> Mazower traces how Romantic nationalism gained a
>> foothold in the region
>> in the 19th century. Sure that was later than some
>> parts of Western
>> Europe, but it was also contemporaneous with
>> movements in Italy and
>> Germany for example. Nationalism didn't just happen
>> in one place and
>> then get imported, it was an idea which (may or may
>> not have its '
>> origin' in Western Europe and) took hold in
>> different places and at
>> different times.
>> He then traces how the breakup of the old Empires in
>> the East - Ottoman
>> and Austro-Hungarian - led to a number of successor
>> states which, he
>> says 'appealed to the principle of nationality to
>> claim their neighbour'
>> s lands... [but] all the new states had ethnic
>> minorities whose
>> existence undermined their claims to rule in the
>> name of the Nation' (
>> p102). On p103 he is very clear: 'the era of
>> religion was over; that of
>> ideology lay ahead: nationalism spanned them both'.
>> He notes that the notion of the nation-state was not
>> exclusive, and
>> that Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia showed other
>> forms of statehood
>> still existed. But, he says, the ethnic kaleidoscope
>> meant that the
>> principle of nationality was a receipe for violence.
>> He discusses how
>> popular nationalism was often a response to problems
>> within Communist
>> states, who avowed principles of federation and
>> internationalism. He
>> talks about how Yugoslavia retained for the longest
>> time the Habsburg
>> notion that there could be a separation between
>> nations and
>> nationalities (i.e. though there might be national
>> groups, they need
>> not be in their own 'nation'.)
>> Then, right in the final pages of the book, he
>> suggests that some of
>> the Western opposition to involvement in the region
>> since 1990 was
>> because
>> of their suggestion that the violence and ethnic
>> struggle was age old.
>> Violence in the region, for these people, was not
>> due to the problems
>> of the European logic of state-building, but the
>> 'stuff of Balkan
>> history'. On the contrary, he suggests, the region
>> compares very
>> favourably in terms of generalised peace and crime
>> to other areas of
>> Europe and the world.
>> Then comes almost the concluding sentence: 'Just as
>> the nation-building
>> process is more recent and compressed in the
>> Balkans, so ethnic
>> nationalism remains stronger, and civic traditions
>> more fragile than
>> elsewhere' (p. 134).
>> Even if, and of course it's debatable, we can trace
>> the notion of
>> nationalism to the 'West' or 'Western Europe', it
>> seems clear from
>> Mazower's analysis that nationalism very clearly
>> _is_ a factor now in
>> the politics of the region. And that it has been for
>> sometime, even if
>> the suggestions that certain ignorant Western
>> Europeans make about the
>> ages old problem is ill-informed and dangerous.
>> I'm glad I've read this book. I was looking at David
>> Campbell's
>> National Deconstruction this morning, and found that
>> a very interesting
>> and useful analysis. Foucauldian in places, but also
>> informed by
>> Derrida and Levinas.
>> --
>> As I stated in a previous mail, to suggest Foucault
>> is a philosopher is
>> fine by me; to suggest he is _only_ a philosopher is
>> nonsensical. Yes,
>> Foucault has philosophical concerns or 'problems',
>> but he investigates
>> them in a way that draws upon a number of other
>> 'disciplines'. In turn,
>> Foucault's work has been appropriated and
>> misappropriated by a number
>> of disciplines. I know the Philosophe collection, it
>> has some very
>> useful pieces. Equally there's one edited by Jan
>> Goldstein about
>> Foucault and history, which has some very useful
>> pieces... As for the
>> Nietzsche comment, I can think of any number of
>> 'philosophy'
>> departments that would _not_ consider him as a
>> philosopher for
>> precisely that reason. I don't agree with them, but
>> does that prove
>> your point? Really, rather than try to say that
>> Foucault can _only_ be
>> read as X, or _never_ said anything about Y,
>> wouldn't it be better for
>> you to see his interests and work as a whole?
>> Two final points,
>> But that
>> > he wrote about the nationalism does not means that
>> we
>> > should call "nazies" israel:))
>> I don't remember who, if anyone, said that. I wonder
>> if you're
>> misrepresenting again. I do remember that someone
>> suggested that maybe
>> a Foucauldian analysis of that situation would shed
>> some
>=== message truncated ===
>Do You Yahoo!?
>Get personalized email addresses from Yahoo! Mail

Partial thread listing: