Orientalism, Balkanism and the Western Viewpoint in the Context of Former Yugoslavia

MA. Atdhe Hetemi


This research paper examines the role of the Orientalist and Balkanist discourse in the Former Yugoslavia with a particular focus on Albanians. Here, Western Orientalist and Balkanist stereotypes of the Former Yugoslavia are examined arguing that the Orientalism and Balkanism of people living in the Former Yugoslavia is and was viewed differently from the standard by the West and by the people living in the Former Yugoslavia in the way how they perceive each other. The first part of this research paper treats the Orientalism and Balkanism in the context of people living in the Former Yugoslavia, in general.

The second part of this research paper analyzes the case study of the application of the Orientalist and Balkanist theoretical lenses on one of the nations living in the Former Yugoslavia, namely Albanians. Here, some explorations and thoughts are provided on how Albanians define themselves and how they were perceived by the South Slavic majority living in the Former Yugoslavia.

There are three authors and, subsequently, three seminal works that shall serve as pillars of this theoretical analysis: concepts of Edward Said’s “Orientalism,” Bakic-Hayden’s theories on Orientalist variations and nesting Orientalism, and Maria Todorova’s ground-breaking analysis of the external practices of Balkans representation. These provide a useful theoretical framework through which to explore the distribution of the Orientalist and Balkanist discourses in Former Yugoslavia.


Albanians; Balkanism; Former Yugoslavia; Orientalism; West;


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DOI: 10.21113/iir.v5i1.22

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