Macedonian Questions

BASIL C. GOUNARIS

Abstract

Despite many recent postmodernist approaches ‘historicity’ as a
quality of state rights in the Balkans was not dismissed.
Ethnicity, in its historic dimension, is still considered almost
unanimously as the fundamental ingredient of any attempt to
understand the Macedonian Question; be it for strengthening or
for weakening state or minority arguments. I will argue instead
that in reality the question of ethnic identities is only a
convenient and fashionable diplomatic alibi. Behind Greek,
Bulgarian, Serbian, Slav Macedonian ‘rights’ and the mobile
‘rights’ of their changing sponsors lie four separate ‘Macedonian
questions’ These are (a) the protracted diplomacy of national
independence and unification in the Balkans; (b) the national
politics of geographical and economic ‘unity’; (c) the cultural
division of labour before and after 1912; (d) the side effects of
state integration and modernization. This is not to deny
ethnicity as a category in general, nor its importance as an
argument in current politics. It is rather an attempt to show that
this elusive term introduced in the 1960s does not fit in the
Macedonian, not even in the Balkan past; unless we qualify in
detail what particular features made the use of this term valid
and when this happened.

 

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