Culture in the European East-Baltic Periphery: Embarrassed Coexistence of Fashion, Officialism and Resistance. The Estonian Case of K. J. Peterson


  • Jüri Talvet Tartu Ülikool, Maailmakirjanduse õppetool, Ülikooli 17–403, 51014 Tartu



culture within culture, fashion, officialism, alienation, resistance


Despite some historically conditioned differences between three Eastern-Baltic cultures, none of them seems to have had sufficient defence mechanisms to develop any substantial resistance to powerful cultural fashions and officialism in culture imposed by major centres of economical-political power of Europe and the West in the different stages of their cultural history. A more detailed and concrete analysis of these processes has hardly been possible, as the mutual access to the “other” in its respective permutations has been deficient and highly fragmented. Genuinely comparative cultural studies have been quite weak so far even in such fields of creativity as music and visual arts, not to speak of literature, the most complicated and multi-layered creative-cultural area, in which the dependence on the vernacular linguistic factor is exclusive and unavoidable.

For the time being – without any guarantee that future could bring some improvement – we can only intuitively grasp some parallel developments. What we can do in the field of comparative literature is to describe and establish the contours of a model of the interaction between fashion, officialism and resistance in one particular ethnic culture. After that first step we can follow to the comparison of all three models, as well as to introduce their correction and modification, describing concrete cases of coincidence, overlapping and also difference.


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