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Disenchanted Nations?: Challenging Ethno-Religious Nationalism in Turkey and Greece
As Maria Todorova (1996) has observed, legacies have shelf lives. Certainly, the imprint of the Ottoman Empire on the dozens of successor states is increasingly faint, not least because countries across the region underwent vastly different post-Ottoman trajectories. Yet, all post-Ottoman countries were also constutited in the face of a common problematique, namely, how to manage the challenges and opportunities of the encounter with European modernity. This paper suggests that the programmatic answers which intellectuals and statesmen developed vis-a-vis this dilemma have tended to fall along a spectrum of westernism to nativism. That is, some figures have advocated unequivocal engagement of (their reading) of ideas and institutions emanating from western Europe and the 'West', whilst others have called for syncretic or highly selective engagement or, indeed, outright resistance (Fisher Onar and Evin, 2010). By conceptualizing debates across the region in this fashion, we may be able to capture convergence and divergence in both the form and the substance of debates over 'western' values and pratices whilst eschewing an essentialist reading of those debates. This paper will accordingly apply the frame to recent debates over democratization, a process which is both trumpeted by the EU and the United States but also undermined by a range of western policies towards the region. The focus will be on recent debates related to democratization in Greece, Turkey, Jordan, and Egypt.
Political Science
Geographic Area
All Middle East
Sub Area