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Overcoming ‘Otherness’: Central and Eastern European Nations and the Idea of ‘Europe’


The idea of ‘Europe’ in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has evolved significantly during the three decades of post-communist transition. Initially, anti-Soviet elites from the 1980s portrayed the region as equal/complementary to the Western part of the continent, which for its part perceived CEE as its ‘Other’. The first decade of post-communist transition was marked by a switch to nationalist thinking and the evocation of the idea of ‘Europe’ as one of nation-states. Finally, contemporary discourses of ‘Europe’ in CEE revolve around three different pillars, that is, European exceptionalism, European universalism and Transatlanticism, in contrast to Western discourses.
Keywords: Central and Eastern Europe; idea of Europe; European identity; post-communist transition; Otherness