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Ethno-Baroque: Materiality, Aesthetics and Conflict in Modern-Day Macedonia

Rozita Dimova
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    In post-1991 Macedonia,Barokfurniture came to represent affluence and success during a period of transition to a new market economy. This furniture marked the beginning of a larger Baroque style that influenced not only interior decorations in people's homes but also architecture and public spaces. By tracing the signifier Baroque, the book examines the reconfiguration of hierarchical relations among (ethnic) groups, genders, and countries in a transnational context. Investigating how Baroque has come to signify larger social processes and transformations in the current rebranding of the country, the book reveals the close link between aesthetics and politics, and how ethno-national conflicts are reflected in visually appealing ornamentation.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-041-2
    Subjects: Anthropology, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-vi)
  4. Preface
    (pp. vii-vii)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. viii-x)
  6. Introduction. Material losses Barok style
    (pp. 1-19)

    Around the end of the 1970s a private furniture manufacturer from Struga (a town in southwest Macedonia) began producing wood-carved furniture.A decade later, during the period of the postsocialist transition, the proprietor named his companyBarok.This name was launched to signify opulence, wealth, and style. At the outset, the main line of production consisted of custom, handmade, luxurious (luksuzni) pieces of carved wood that required lengthy manufacturing time and cost a significant amount of money. These were purchased mainly by the members of the newly rich who had become wealthy due to their dealings in the new market economy...

  7. CHAPTER 1 From past necessity to contemporary friction: Negotiating minorities through migration
    (pp. 20-49)

    This chapter provides background for the circumstances under which large numbers of Albanians were “encouraged” or forced to emigrate during the Yugoslav years. It further establishes this process as the basis that later made available the resources for this underprivileged minority to become socially mobile once Yugoslavia collapsed, and the postsocialist period was introduced. Outlining the necessary historical context of the migration policies during the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1943–91) and the “place” of Albanian minority during socialist times, I explore the effect of diasporic connections on consumption practices, the visibility and materiality of objects brought in by...

  8. CHAPTER 2 Lost objects, gained privileges
    (pp. 50-71)

    This chapter foregrounds the circumstances under which a resentment of Albanians’ newfound wealth (at least for a certain section of the Albanian population in Kumanovo) among Macedonians translated into a strong expression of suspicion of Albanians in general. This arguably echoes the habit of blaming “the other” for a downfall in status, something that has been noted across Europe, as analyzed by Douglas Holmes, Andre Gingrich, and Hastings Donnan, among others (Donnan 2002, 2010; Gingrich 2006; Gingrich and Banks 2006; Holmes 2000).

    By providing a detailed account of the experiences of several different households during socialism and after 1991, I...

  9. CHAPTER 3 “Modern” masculinities: Emancipation through education
    (pp. 72-91)

    While conducting the household survey as part of my research, I received explicit proof of how important education has become for ethnic Albanians. It was a Friday afternoon on a hot summer day. I was in my top-floor apartment, working with my research assistant, Adnan, a twenty-eight-year-old ethnic Albanian man who had been helping me for the past year. I had become very close to him and his fiancé Mersiha, and his extended family was one of the most important contact base throughout my research. We had grown to be a well-synchronized team. It was his turn to dictate while...

  10. CHAPTER 4 Topography of spatial and temporal ruptures: (Im)materialities of (post)socialism
    (pp. 92-114)

    This chapter examines the material/architectural nature of Kumanovo to show thetopography of spatial and temporal ruptures,an expression I have coined to discern how different ethnicities, especially Albanians, have been emerging in the domain of the visible through historical narratives, material presence, and popular perceptions. A starting point of my analysis is the district Divo Naselje, the most densely populated area inhabited by Albanians in Kumanovo, which literally translated means “Wild District.” Initially designating the “nature” of the district during socialism, with houses built “illegally” without official permission from the local authorities (na divo) the meaning of “wildness” in...

  11. CHAPTER 5 The Baroque effect: Central Skopje between antiquitization and Christianization
    (pp. 115-143)

    I argued in the previous chapter that the residents of Divo Naselje in Kumanovo have been reconfiguring their living space and redefining the meaning of “wild.” For many households from this district, the access to wealth and the increased consumption power has been manifested through conspicuously decorated and large houses. The material presence of these houses, along with the effects they have had on the other residents of the town of Kumanovo, could be viewed as part of the “Baroque mechanism” (Lambert 2004). Building on the writings of Jose Antonio Maravall, Lambert elaborates on this mechanism and defines it as...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 144-151)

    In his bookThe Theater of Truth,Egginton(2010) argues that the principal theoretical value of the term “Baroque” derives from its relation as an aesthetic category to the historical period of modernity. While the historical Baroque relies on proliferation of décor and a conscious embrace of artifice, it also reveals an organizing logic that goes beyond that specific age (the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries). This organizing logic is a theatrical one, where the space of representation is severed into a “screen of appearances,” and the truth is presumed to reside behind it. It is this basic premise, divided between...

  13. Index
    (pp. 152-165)