PECOB Portal on Central Eastern
and Balkan Europe
by IECOB & AIS
Università di Bologna  
 
Wednesday January 26, 2022
 
Testata per la stampa
Books

This area collects information about a wide range of books, monographies and edited volumes concerning the countries and themes relevant to PECOB

 
 
East, rivista internazionale di geopolitica
 
European Regional Master's Degree in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe
Feed RSS with the latest information on books published on PECOB
 

The Sacrificed Body

Balkan Community Building and the Fear of Freedom

by: Tatjana Aleksic
published by: Pittsburgh University Press
pp: 288
ISBN: 9780822962618
price: Paper $27.95

Book's frontpage

Living in one of the world’s most volatile regions, the people of the Balkans have witnessed unrelenting political, economic, and social upheaval. In response, many have looked to building communities, both psychologically and materially, as a means of survival in the wake of crumbling governments and states. The foundational structures of these communities often center on the concept of individual sacrifice for the good of the whole. Many communities, however, are hijacked by restrictive ideologies, turning them into a model of intolerance and exclusion.
In The Sacrificed Body, Tatjana Aleksic examines the widespread use of the sacrificial metaphor in cultural texts and its importance to sustaining communal ideologies in the Balkan region. Aleksic further relates the theme to the sanctioning of ethnic cleansing, rape, and murder in the name of homogeneity and collective identity. Aleksic begins her study with the theme of the immurement of a live female body in the foundation of an important architectural structure, a trope she finds in texts from all over the Balkans. The male builders performing the sacrificial act have been called by a higher power who will ensure the durability of the structure and hence the patriarchal community as a whole.
In numerous examples ranging from literature to film and performance art, Aleksic views the theme of sacrifice and its relation to exclusion based on gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, or politics for the sake of community building. According to Aleksic, the sacrifice narrative becomes most prevalent during times of crisis brought on by wars, weak governments, foreign threats, or even globalizing tendencies. Because crisis justifies the very existence of restrictive communities, communalist ideology thrives on its perpetuation. They exist in a symbiotic relationship. Aleksic also acknowledges the emancipatory potential of a genuine community, after it has shaken off its ideological character.
Aleksic employs cultural theory, sociological analysis, and human rights studies to expose a historical narrative that is predominant regionally, if not globally. As she determines, in an era of both Western and non-Western neoliberalism, elitist hegemony will continue to both threaten and bolster communities along with their segregationist tactics.

 

Table of contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Legendary Roots of Community Construction

1. Community, Power, and the Body
2. A Failed Dream of a Balkan Community
3. The Greek National Identity as the Father’s Testament
4. The Yugoslav Cadavre Exquis: The Return of the Repressive
5. Demystifying the Sacrificial Imperative of History

Conclusion: Community, Communalism, Communism

Notes
Selected Bibliography
Index

About the author

Tatjana Aleksic is associate professor of South Slavic languages and literatures and comparative literature at the University of Michigan

Mirees

Find content by geopolitical unit

Sponsors