The European perception of Balkans peoples and their accomplishments, for good or bad, has a long history which is itself a part of European political and cultural evolution. Western public knowledge of the uneven course of state-building and nation-building processes in the Balkans has been more often than not filtered through the Great Powers' interests and strategies. The sovietisation of most part of the region, after World War II, further blurred local national profiles; nor have these been made sharper by the stereotypes adopted by media commentators in interpreting the "return to diversity" and the transition to political pluralism in the region. What is perhaps most difficult to grasp for the western public is that, in the Balkans, "transition" - with perduring uncertainty - has been going on for two centuries, and during this time people have been accumulating expectations and frustrations, surprising achievements and abysmal catastrophes. In the last few years political and economic systems, and even borders, have been dramatically changing in the Balkans through the interplay of world, continental and local forces. National identities are being reshaped in the process. The overall orientation of such phenomena is outside the scope of historians' work. Nonetheless, with this collection of essays the History Research group of the International Network "Europe and the Balkans" intended to contribute to the stabilizing of perceptions through historical criticism. Unsettled national questions and current political strains may have crept into the group's work. To the intelligent reader, what this collection has so lost in scholarship, it has gained as a witness of our time. [Publisher's Text]
163 p. 25 cm.