A combination of undemocratic developments in Hungary and Poland as well as Eastern Europe’s reluctance to engage in solidary burden-sharing at the height of the refugee crisis in Europe has brought back familiar allusions of Eastern Europeans as troublemakers for European unity and peace. This article offers a discursive dissection of ‘Eastern Europe’ as a subtly subversive challenge to Europe’s security of ‘self’, entailing a fear of being overrun by an ‘other’ perceived as endangering one’s normative and cultural order. Proceeding from Ingrid Creppell’s (2011) notion of normative threat, this article argues that the reappearance of ‘Eastern Europe’ as an ontological insecurity trope is indicative of deeper anxieties within Europe, some of which are systemic (such as doubts about the efficacy of integration and the legitimacy of the European Union) and some of which are contingent (such as concerns about defending the European political order from populist upsurges amidst ‘resurgent nationalism’).
Mälksoo, M. (2019). The normative threat of subtle subversion: the return of ‘Eastern Europe’ as an ontological insecurity trope. Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 32(3), 365–383. https://doi.org/10.1080/09557571.2019.1590314