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European Conceptual History
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Beyond 'Hellenes' and 'Barbarians'
Asymmetrical Concepts in European Discourse
Edited by Kirill Postoutenko
358 pages, 10 illus., 10 tables, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-80073-679-5 $145.00/£107.00 / Hb / Published (October 2022)
eISBN 978-1-80073-680-1 eBook
“This volume is a significant and innovative exploration of Koselleck’s notion of asymmetric counter-concepts in the form of case studies based on a number of European cultures and histories. Beyond 'Hellenes' and 'Barbarians' places its theme firmly on the agenda of conceptual historians, which makes it a very valuable and insightful addition to conceptual history literature.” • Michael Freeden, University of Oxford
Forty years ago, German historian Reinhart Koselleck coined the notion of ‘asymmetrical concepts’, pointing at the asymmetry between standard self-ascriptions, such as ‘Hellenes’ or ‘Christians’, and pejorative other-references (‘Barbarians’ or ‘Pagans’) as a powerful weapon of cultural and political domination. Advancing and refining Koselleck’s approach, Beyond ‘Hellenes’ and ‘Barbarians’ explores the use of significant conceptual asymmetries such as ‘civilization’ vs. ‘barbarity’, ‘liberalism’ vs. ‘servility’, ‘order’ vs. ‘chaos’ or even ‘masters’ vs. ‘slaves’ in political, scientific and fictional discourses of Europe from the Middle Ages to the present day. Using an interdisciplinary set of approaches, the scholars in political history, cultural sociology, intellectual history and literary criticism bolster and extend our understanding of this ever-growing area of conceptual history.
Kirill Postoutenko is Senior Researcher in the Special Research Area 1288 (Practices of Comparison) at Bielefeld University, Germany, and Adjunct Associate Professor (Docent) of Russian literature and culture at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He is the author and editor of eight books and eighty articles devoted to the history of Russian poetry and literary criticism, history of media and communication in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, systems theory, conversation analysis, and social history of identity.
Subject: History: 20th Century to PresentHistory: 18th/19th CenturyHistory: Medieval/Early Modern
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