Noor-Eesti projektist tänapäeva Eesti kultuurilis-poliitilise diskursuse taustal. Kriitilised ülestähendused. The Young-Estonia’s project of renewal on the background the culturalpolitical discourse of present Estonia. Some critical observations


  • Daniele Monticelli



The article is an attempt to pinpoint those general discursive aspects of the Young Estonia movement which more clearly contradict the hegemony of conservative positions within the cultural-political discourse of contemporary Estonia. An analysis of the rhetoric of renewal employed by Young Estonians reveals that the movement came to represent its own cultural-political practices as 1) eccentric – oriented towards that outside which they named ”Europe”, and aimed at creating internal polycentrism and differentiation; 2) eclectic – (often incoherently) assembling different pieces of different foreign languages and cultures together with the Estonian language and culture; 3) interruptive – bringing about an historical, generational and conceptual rupture with the past. In this article I show how these three determinations clash with the stress on centralization (and internality), homogeneity, and continuity characteristic of the conservative cultural-political discourse. If the latter is grounded on the clear-cut opposition of the proper and the improper, the own and the foreign, the Young Estonia movement shifts the attention to the fight for the new against the old, a struggle which presupposes the disruptive contamination of the proper with the improper, of the own with the foreign. Drawing on these observations, the foundation of the conception of culture shared by the Young Estonians is what Tuglas has called the ”aesthetic principle”. The aesthetization of culture prompts the irruption of art and artificiality into life, thus putting into question the presumed authenticity, originality and naturalness of culture – the foundation stones of the conservative cultural-political discourse. The clear-cut distinction between the internal sameness of culture and its external otherness gets replaced by the idea of an infinite movement of differentiation and translation always already internal to any culture.


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