North and South in Belgian Comics

in European Comic Art
Author:
Jan BaetensUniversity of Leuven jan.baetens@kuleuven.be

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'National' culture, one that is linked to the daily perception of cultural artefacts and inevitably affected by the context of globalisation, can be considered through the optic of Belgian comics. And although Belgian national culture escapes easy characterisation, it can at least be explored from three different angles. Firstly, Flemish comics will be discussed in terms of the Flemish way of 'doing comics' or, more broadly, anti-Belgicism, in terms of both political subtext and language issues. Secondly, francophone Belgian comics can be approached as an example of cultural blindness, marked by 'evasion' or the playing-down of Belgian specificity in broad cultural as well as more precise linguistic terms. Drawing upon the works of Deleuze and Guattari, these examples can then be used as an outline for a framework of broader analysis regarding national cultures in peripheral situations.

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