Fragmented Worlds – Fragmented Identities: Destruction as a Tool for Politicized Uses of Marginal Identities in Goytisolo’s Narratives

  • Abstract:

    Due to the end of European dictatorships and the collapse of communism, there is a particular need for new orientations at the end of 20th century in Europe. This situation, called «world in pieces» by Clifford Geertz (2000 [1995]), implicates a lack of identity. Particularly in Spain, the new postcolonial situation and the exclusion from the process of European integration after the Second World War (due to the politics of isolation of the regime), go along with a need for new identification. In his novel El sitio de los sitios, Goytisolo (1995) describes the historical destruction during the war in Bosnia, including details like the destruction of Sarajevo’s national library. This particular place with its particular history becomes more and more a metaphor or some kind of common place that illustrates other European conflicts and different kinds of loss. In this regard, Goytisolo’s Sarajevo is as well a lieu de mémoire (Nora 1984, see also Nora 2011) – a particular place with a particular history – as a non-lieu (Augé 1992) – a place out of every place without history. Besides historical conflicts the war damage illustrates as well the resolution of fixed ideas and identifications. The fragmented world goes along with fragmented – individual and political – identities. Nevertheless, in Goytisolo’s novel, the destruction serves as the basis for renewal. As a sort of creative chaos, it offers the possibility to build new orders, to fix new ideas, including marginal opinions and identities. This paper has two central aims. In the first place, to analyze to what extend the non-lieu created in Goytisolo’s novel could be seen as a new European lieu de mémoire, a place that creates a European memory. And, in the second place, to answer the question whether and to what extent the destruction serves as a tool for politicized uses of marginal identities.