Eastern or Central Europe? Discursive Shifts on the Imaginary Map of Europe
Abstract: The outcomes of the political and economic transformations in Eastern Europe in the 1990s are elucidated most frequently in terms of the modernization and Europeanization of Eastern Europe, which amounted to the process of internalizing European norms and values. However, one could argue that it also revealed much more deep-seated essential divisions between Europe and Eastern Europe, where the latter represented the distance from and the lack of Europeaness (i.e. the features of the essential and idealized Europe). The following paper will examine if we could think about the process of enlarging the EU in terms of Edward Said’s orientalism and power/knowledge practices? Was there a shared logic of otherness that made discourses on Eastern Europe and the Orient to some degree similar? Was the notion of Central Europe a kind of discursive shift on the imaginative map of Europe to relocate itself on the political and imaginative map of Europe?
Keywords: EU Enlargement, EU conditionality, Transformation after 1989, East/West dichotomy, Eastern Europe, Postcolonial Theory