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Narrative and Discursive Games: Translating the Postcolonial into the Postcommunist


University of Bucharest

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of new nations on the map of Europe coincided with a paradigm shift in postcolonial studies in the early nineteen-nineties. As postcolonialism was being institutionalised, reaching the speaking platform of the academia and thus losing some of its former subversive poignancy, its emancipatory mission seemed to be taken over by postcommunism. Postcommunism, a new discipline, was then in need of conceptual working tools to theorise the historical experience of communism and the transition to a new capitalist economy in Eastern Europe. Initially, it borrowed established concepts from disciplines such as postcolonialism and cultural studies. A decade later, the gradual EU accession of former communist countries, still recovering from difficult processes of economic and political transition, brought the postcolonialism/ postcommunism dialogue back on the agenda, reconsidering its self-reflexive narratives with renewed urgency. Recent theories on imperialism and globalisation show significant potential to shed light on some of the issues in the postcommunism-postcolonialism debate and should be further explored. This essay examines the current state of the discipline and argues in favour of the benefits of the dialogue between the two discourses, but also cautions against the generalising tendencies inherent in this theoretical enterprise.

Keywords: Postcolonialism, postcommunism, narrative, discourse, EU accession, Eastern Europe, translation, globalisation, migration, empire



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