Strategies of Cultural Resistance to EUropeanisation in Eastern Europe and its Margins

  • Abstract:

    The paper discusses the strategies of cultural resistance to EUropeanisation in Eastern Europe (the cases of Romania and Poland) and its margins (the case of Georgia). Based on the in-depth interviews and focus groups with Romanian, Polish and Georgian youth, the author argues that the EUropeanisation discourses display ambivalent identities that constantly negotiate between the EUropeanising forces and the national. This ambiguity is reflected in the youth discourses on the impact of EUropeanisation on the local traditions, religious beliefs, family relations, migration issues, and finally, their vision of freedom, provoking the young people’s specific coping strategies, which seem quite ambivalent too, implying a dual attempt to “both embrace and eschew Westernization” (Blum 2007). On the one hand, there seems to be an attempt to copy a lot from the West, particularly the EU, whose standards and norms these three countries try to follow, while on the other hand, such a “copy-paste” is perceived as a local “mistake” and there is an obvious attempt to do things in a “specific” way, varying from rediscovering the local, even copying the local, to creatively mixing the Western, often equated to EUropean, with the local. Despite the fact that not all the coping strategies are considered as successful by the youth, it turns out that even the “strange” examples of bricolage can be applied as a means of cultural resistance insomuch as they represent the local way of doing things.