A Most Demanding Question of Public Concern: Assessing British and French popular discourse on the Cretan revolt, 1897-98
Cretan revolt (1897-98)
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AbstractThis paper examines how western public audiences understood and interacted with news-coverage of the Cretan revolt (1897-98), and how such perceptions implicitly and explicitly endorsed Balkan nation-building, even excusing ethnic cleansing as a means of achieving monoethnic nation-states. Comparing British and French news-coverage of the ethnic conflict, this research assesses framing practises present in the journalism of the revolt. Informed by western Hellenism and racial-orientalist perceptions of Muslim populations, popular discourses presented the revolt’s intercommunal violence and multinational responses within historical-cultural conceptions of westernism and the failure of the Concert system of diplomacy. Public opinion minimized accounts of the ethnic cleansing of Tourkokritikí (Cretan Muslims), and pressured national governments to adopt decidedly pro-Greek positions in responding to the revolt. Popular understandings further framed crisis management efforts as a zero-sum exercise, limiting the political viability of conciliatory approaches for great power international relations.
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