Repetition, Agency

Part of the Studies in European Culture and History book series (SECH)


Writing at the time of armed hostilities between Georgia and Russia in the summer of 2008, the political commentator, Fareed Zakaria (2008), tried to allay fears of a new Cold War by arguing that “history does not repeat itself. It only seems to do so to people who don’t know the details.” Those who understand the specificities of the present against the historical past are protected against “making bad analogies.” At first glance, this seems like sound advice. Few would argue against the disciplined gathering of details since the “devil is in the details,” as Abby Warburg famously said. However, too many details often prove debilitating and drive obstructionist politics. In this case, Zakaria argued that the conflict needed to be viewed through the prism, not of the Cold War, but of globalization. In effect, he was arguing that the pertinent details emerge in the large geopolitical paradigms that provide the right context for their interpretation. Some might counter that this perspective amounts to a dangerous leap of faith, which compromises the specificities of details that inform the less heady but no less significant realm of micropolitics.


Traumatic Repetition Narrative Discourse Female Companion Racial Question Open Scene 
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© Vangelis Calotychos 2013

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