Always already European: The figure of Skënderbeg in contemporary Albanian nationalism

  • Nixon N
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Abstract

This article examines contemporary reproductions of the myth of Albania's national hero, Skenderbeg. Through the figure of Skenderbeg, Albanian nationalism produces an image of the nation as a seamless continuity of 'Europeanness' from the fifteenth century to the present. It does so by positing an original, self-conscious, medieval political unity as the first instance of nation-state-building in Europe. Second, through an image of resistance to the Ottoman Empire it positions Albania as the historical defender of the boundaries of 'Christian Europe'. In so doing, it presents itself as a vital factor in the historical development of 'European civilisation.' It constitutes, it is argued in this article, a misdirected appeal to Europe - driven by a desire for future European Union membership - to recognise Albania as always already European. The notion of Europe is here seen as a powerful organising ideal that impacts directly upon the formation of collective identities on the periphery of the EU. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]

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Authors

  • Nicola Nixon

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