Albanian and Georgian Discourses on Europe: From Berlin 1878 to Tbilisi 2008
Title: Albanian and Georgian Discourses on Europe: From Berlin 1878 to Tbilisi 2008
Author: BRISKU, Adrian
Citation: Florence, European University Institute, 2009
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
This dissertation looks at the ways in which Albanian and Georgian political and intellectual elites have understood, imagined, instrumentalised, and internalized the concept of Europe from the late nineteenth century to the present, and how they have framed their own historic and immediate conditions with respect to that concept. Presenting a comparative analysis of Georgia and Albania – two small countries distinguished by differing ethno-cultural compositions, yet undergoing markedly similar political trajectories in their modern era, and both positioned at the peripheries of the continent – the thesis examines what it is that Europe has signified for both countries, when it is itself viewed from their peripheral positions. The analysis is informed by the theoretical and methodological principles advanced in Reinhart Koselleck’s Begriffsgeschichte (conceptual history). Central to this analysis is the idea that changes and conflicts within societies not only reflect processes of conceptualisation, but are actively driven by them. Politics is about the contentious appropriation of positions, by which convincing meanings can be given to key concepts. The thesis shows that the charging of ‘Europe’ with different conceptual meanings was always a power-mediated process within both the Albanian and Georgian settings. And this power was related not only to the field of politics - as Koselleck would have it - but was also, and more importantly, dependent upon geopolitical considerations. The text consists of five chapters. The first chapter maps the contextual similarities and differences between the two countries, and describes the historiographical contexts of their pre-modern eras. The ensuing four chapters are arranged chronologically into four specific periods of the modern era. These chapters focus on the interplay between the discursive fields of (geo)politics, modernity, and identity/culture, so as to analyse both the new, and the re-occurring, discourses on Europe. The thesis argues that ‘Europe’ has had a triadic understanding within the Albanian and Georgian settings: as a (geo)political force; as a signifier of modernity; and as a component of identity - all of these contributing to a plurality of images and meanings. And these multiple and shifting meanings were directly affected by Europe’s own evolving geopolitical stance and power, and also by Georgian and Albanian elites’ attitudes towards it.
LC Subject Heading: Albania -- History; Georgia (Republic) -- History
Defence date: 14 September 2009; Examining Board: Prof. Bo Stråth, University of Helsinki, (Supervisor) Prof. Stephen F. Jones, Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, Assist. Prof. Dr. Bulent Bilmez, Bilgi University, Istanbul Prof. Martin Van Gelderen, EUI, Florence
Published version: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/27839
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