The centuries-old debate over whether certain countries belong to the East or the centre of Europe has fairly little to do with geography. In this Gagarin podcast episode, anthropologist Iván Kalmár discusses privilege, race and cultural hegemony.
is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto. His current research focuses on populism and the relations between the post-communist members of the European Union and their western neighbours. His latest book White But Not Quite: Central Europe’s Illiberal Revolt was published in 2022.
To understand why the imitation of western-style liberal democracy failed post-communist Central Europe, one has to consider the agency of the lead partner, the West. Mimicry is a strategy of colonial power, that stems from the logic of the dominant: it is encouraged on the condition that it fails.