In the book, Inventing Eastern European History, Larry Wolff argues Eastern Europe was constructed as an experimental domain that gave free play to the social theories and political reveries of the west.
Basing your response the works of Wolff, Andric, Habsweb, and the film Pan Tadeusz, evaluate the veracity of Wolff's assertion.
To what extent was Eastern Europe a laboratory for social, political, and cultural ideas and policies generated elsewhere?
Consider carefully the difference between foreign perception and domestic reality.
In the book, Inventing Eastern European History, Larry Wolff argues "Eastern Europe was constructed as an experimental domain that gave free play to the social theories and political reveries of the west" (Wolff, 1994). The image of Europe has been constructed by demarcation from others and also from the self perception of that community. Eastern Europe was invented as the complementary half of the civilized Western Europe and has in history faced inclusions and exclusions as to their identity as Europe. This paper evaluates the veracity Wolff's assertion that Eastern Europe was an experimental domain for the west.
Eastern Europe: an experimental domain for the west?
The European continent was viewed by and perceived as divided into western and Eastern Europe with the Western Europe viewing themselves as civilized and the Eastern Europe as uncivilized and backward. Eastern Europe though backward in terms of development was not ascribed or perceived as barbarians. This lack of classifying the Eastern Europeans as either civilized or backward left them in an ambiguous state. It was a construction of exclusions and inclusions where sometimes they were viewed as part of Europe while at times not. The western scholars in their enlightenment projects went ahead to define the civilized west against the uncivilized eastern Europe and Eastern Europe emerged to be a bridge of learning, a transitional laboratory between the civilized world and the barbaric world (Bockman, & Eyal, 2002).
As the Ottoman Empire declined, the western Europeans grew in power and Eastern Europe took an important role in the West's ideology of domination. Scholars from the west developed theories of racial superiority and political domination of various colonies in America and Africa, and the Eastern Europe become the link between the civilization in Western Europe and the savagery in Africa, Americas and Asia. Eastern Europe therefore developed a strong ideological character and purpose that was important in for the Western European political and economic domination of the world (Wolff, 1994). Ivo Andrics in his work The Bridge on the Drina ...
The difference between foreign perception and domestic reality is determined.