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A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central EuropeVolume I: Negotiating Modernity in the 'Long Nineteenth Century'$
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Balázs Trencsényi, Maciej Janowski, Monika Baar, Maria Falina, and Michal Kopecek

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737148

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198737148.001.0001

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National Projects and Civilizational Hierarchies

National Projects and Civilizational Hierarchies

(p.67) 2 National Projects and Civilizational Hierarchies
A History of Modern Political Thought in East Central Europe

Balázs Trencsényi

Maciej Janowski

Mónika Baár

Maria Falina

Michal Kopeček

Oxford University Press

The quest for improvement included intellectual development through the education of the public, which was expected to lead to the economic and moral renewal of society. The publication of periodicals, language reform, and the development of a modern educational system were all paramount to the intention of creating a new audience. Vernacular language was increasingly seen as the key to the production and transmission of knowledge. The reception of Enlightenment ideas also transformed scholarly writing. Rather than creating civilizational “grand narratives,” scholars produced historical accounts in a patriotic spirit that legitimized a nation’s existence by tracing it back to ancient times. Simultaneously, Enlightenment scholars had an “anthropological” interest in communities with cultures different from their own. In contrast to Western Europe where authors turned to the non-European others, for East Central European writers the exotic other was often right “next door,” i.e. in the rural Hinterland.

Keywords:   education, civilization, vernacular language, language reform, Landespatriotismus, stadial history, anthropology, bon sauvage, archaism

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