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What happened to the Macedonian salad : establishment of modern ethnocracy


Janev,  Goran
Socio-Cultural Diversity, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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Janev, G. (2011). What happened to the Macedonian salad: establishment of modern ethnocracy. Talk presented at "Southeast European (Post)Modernities", 6th conference of the International Association for Southeast European Anthropology. Regensburg University, Germany. 2011-04-28 - 2011-05-01.

Macedonia must have seemed odd and exceptional place when it inspired Western imagination to borrow its name for a mixed salad in which the different ingredients cut in big chunks are thrown in the bowl without any particular order. Before modernity came to Macedonia it was a region of incredible mixture of languages, religions, costumes, customs, or to use the favourite shortcut, cultures. When modernity arrived in Southeast Europe it was turned into a region of unbearable mixture of peoples, ethnicities, nations. Since the end of Pax Ottomana the remnants of the pre-modern ethnic disorder are still being sorted by various political and even military means. Modernity, for its complexity and ambiguity cannot be captured by making it synonymous with nationalism, but for its numerous overlaps and similarities I will focus on it as such by using the case of Republic of Macedonia. After almost two centuries of unmaking its mixture Republic of Macedonia that emerged as independent country after the collapse of Yugoslav federation still has to deal with it. Complicated power-sharing mechanisms have been introduced in conjuncture with the dominant discourse of ethnonationalism. Multiculturalism as ideology or as a set of policies was never given a chance in Macedonia, or for that matter in the whole region of Southeast Europe, as nationalism was embraced in the first place. In this paper I will explore the uncritical acceptance of modernity and its confrontational character based on binary logic and the consequences for this region of remarkable long-standing diversity.