On Happiness and Nationalism
First, what can be concluded:
- Nationalist rhetoric is predictable, static, consciously non-sophisticated and avoids ambivalence. It is premised on categories of absolute truth, where facts speak for themselves, and on an organic treatment of the primordial nation. Shaped in the 19th century, this rhetoric has changed little, although even within this solemn discourse there are shades of intensity, from harmless and humorless victimhood to vicious aggression. No wonder, then, that the 2020 publication reproduces old clichés, often mot-à-mot, from argumentation leveled decades ago, as if all the voluminous scholarly literature on identity/multiple identities, nations and nationalism, especially the one produced from the 1980s onwards, did not exist. This is a conscious omission, since not only has this literature been translated into Bulgarian and is widely available, but there is also a respectable body of works from Bulgarian scholars who are in conversation with this
- Nationalist rhetoric is naturally instrumentalized and manipulated by politicians. But it would be wrong to assume that there is necessarily a causal relationship between rhetoric and politics. The latter is governed by interests. Looking at the course of Bulgarian policy toward Macedonia, one can conclude that the rhetoric is more or less the same, whereas the politics changes from one of complete identification and irredenta, to gradual assimilation, to acceptance of the geo-political status quo, and reduction of politics entirely to the sphere of
Now, what should not be concluded:
- This publication should not be seen as illustrative of Bulgarian scholarship at large. As already mentioned, there are numerous first-class and theoretically...