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Larisa Deriglazova

Abstract

This article discusses the fluctuation of Russian attitudes towards Europe during the last twenty-five years. ‘Europeanness’ is connected to EU efforts of ‘Europeanisation’ and ‘normalisation’ of Russia on EU terms. At the same time, the EU has tried to monopolise the notion of ‘Europe’ and pretends to fulfil all its ideals and values. The continued expansion of the EU towards Russia’s former partners, and conflicts in contested neighbourhoods, has ushered in the feeling among Russians of being ‘different’ (‘Europeans’, yet with a desire to be great, strong and feared). Russia once again plays the role of a revisionist power, thus undermining the EU claim to represent the whole of Europe. Russia may be excluded from formal European organisations, but it cannot be excluded from an ‘imaginable’ community of Europe as a cultural phenomenon to which many Russians still attribute personal and collective meaning.

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It Was Not Meant to Be This Way

An Unfortunate Case of Anglo-Saxon Parochialism?

Tom Frost

Abstract

In June 2016, the United Kingdom’s electorate voted in a referendum to leave the European Union. This article examines ‘Brexit’ from the perspective of British, or English, exceptionalism. It argues that the Leave vote was caused by a number of factors: underlying myths and exceptionalism about the U.K. and its relationship with ‘Europe’; the fallout from the 2007–2008 financial crisis; the austerity policies undertaken in the U.K. since 2010; and the increased migration into the U.K. after the financial crisis, in particular from other EU Member States. The article concludes by arguing that Brexit should serve as an important lesson to listen to all people who feel abandoned by the EU, austerity and globalisation, to hear their stories and perspectives. Only then can we start to think about whether there are shared values and principles which could form the basis for a European politics of the future.

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Play of Mirrors

An Encounter of Personal Biographies with Europe’s Journey

Marcos Farias Ferreira

Abstract

This article deals with the author’s personal narratives and expectations vis-à-vis world-changing events between 1989 and 1991. It illustrates the ways in which the Cold War and its end, as well as the Soviet Union and its end, represent powerful psychological factors in personal narratives of growing up and giving meaning to the world. In an autoethnographic manner, it approaches research and writing from the perspective of the researcher’s experience in order to produce new layers of understanding about the world. It builds on the assumption that big events on the world stage are composed of micro-stories that both nourish them and are nourished by them, and in so doing it makes the micro and the macro two inseparable, interwoven approaches to cultural experience and change. A conversation is forged between past and present, expectations and delusions, life of author and life of Europe, personal new beginnings and continental cul-de-sacs.

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Que reste-t-il de nos amours?

The Expectations of 1989–1991 Revisited

Francisco Martínez

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Tiina Ann Kirss

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To Whom Does History Belong?

The Theatre of Memory in Post-Soviet Russia, Estonia and Georgia

Francisco Martínez

Abstract

This article discusses different processes of appropriation of history in three former Soviet Republics. It provides a context for the recent historical retrofitting by taking the re-monumentalisation of the past in Estonia, the popularity of pseudo-history in Russia, and the current state of the Stalin museum in Georgia as symptomatic of wider social processes. New forms of convergence are shown between the historical and the political by the replacement, emptying of meaning, and remixability of past symbols. The author concludes that the Soviet world has been put to political and communicative uses as a familiar context to refer to; also that the process of retrofitting historical narratives is not over yet in any of these societies.

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Appalling Tehran

Translation of the French Serial Story and Its Effect on the Persian Serial Story

Manizheh Abdollahi and Ehya Amalsaleh

Abstract

This article examines French-Iranian literary interactions in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, which arguably had ongoing effects in Iran on attitudes towards links between morality and social and economic inequality. Some of the earliest fictional stories published in Persian-language newspapers, in the 1850s, were French. This trend continued, through Iran’s Constitutional Revolution (1906), into the early decades of the twentieth century. During this period, Morteza Moshfeq-e Kazemi began writing the first Persian serial story and novel, Tehran-e Makhuf (Appalling Tehran). The present study investigates the effects of the translation of French serial stories on Persian ones, with a specific focus on the impact of the novel Les Mystères de Paris (1842–1843), by Eugène Sue, on the Persian novel Tehran-e Makhuf (1924).

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Calm Vessels

Cultural Expectations of Pregnant Women in Qatar

Susie Kilshaw, Daniel Miller, Halima Al Tamimi, Faten El-Taher, Mona Mohsen, Nadia Omar, Stella Major, and Kristina Sole

Abstract

This article explores emerging themes from the first stage of ethnographic research investigating pregnancy and loss in Qatar. Issues around the development of foetal personhood, the medical management of the pregnant body and the social role of the pregnant woman are explored. Findings suggest that Qatari women are expected to be calm vessels for their growing baby and should avoid certain foods and behaviours. These ideas of risk avoidance are linked to indigenous knowledge around a mother’s influence on a child’s health and traits. Motherhood holds a particularly important place in Qatari culture and in Islam, and women are ultimately responsible for protecting and promoting fertility and for producing healthy children.

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Death of a Statesman – Birth of a Martyr

Martyrdom and Memorials in Post–Civil War Lebanon

Are John Knudsen

Abstract

This article furthers the study of post–civil war memorialisation in Lebanon by analysing the trajectory of the late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri from statesman to martyr. This transformative process offers a window into the symbolism of Lebanese statehood, and demonstrates how the politicisation of confessional martyrs is used to decry injustice and stake out claims to the state. There is no tradition for prosecuting and punishing political murders in Lebanon, causing victims to be pronounced martyrs. Impunity is therefore the major reason why martyrs and memorialising are so widespread. To this end, the article offers a semiotic reading of Hariri’s posthumous transformation from political patron to patron saint, and is a contribution towards the importance of martyr symbolism for understanding the purported weakness of Lebanese statehood.

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Edited by Soheila Shahshahani