This paper investigates the context – cultural context and culture as a context – as a paradoxical structure that is simultaneously found within a space and outside of it. Therefore the paper differentiates between the space as a given category, and the locus as something that contextualizes space by giving it identity. The context needs a referential point and that point, paradoxically, belongs to the context (it is a foundational myth) and also resides outside of the context since it cannot be contextualized (that point is outside of time and space). Heterotopies emerge as theoretical instruments that indicate that every culture while demanding homogeneity still comprises varied spaces, different loci, nonconformity of words and things, as well as things and their contexts within a culture, thereby leading to a problem of establishing an order, rules of the order and its effectiveness. This postulate leads towards the language and the problem of communicability of culture, i.e. two opposed forces that act in every context: the one force that tries to close and thereby preserve the autonomy (politics of identity) and the other that opens toward different contexts (politics of translating).


According to Lacan (1996), “the big Other” (le grand Autre) is a world of language where the self is constituted. It is often a space of empty signifiers in which the subject, deprived of any solid reference and radically decentred with endless slips of the “symbolic order”, is caught in the narcissistic reflections of the mirror, dispersed and totally overcome by the very force of desire. Lacan believes that desire can be satisfied only with active engagement with “the big Other”, in a “successful” interpersonal communication which is only possible in rare flash-like moments. This communicative situation is, hence, conceived as a location where desire can be satisfied, but also as a process of division, a necessary excuse which covers up an endless search for the missing object. Accordingly, based on Lacan’s theoretical postulates, the paper analyses the functioning of the discourse of love, and the strategies of constituting the intimate self in the imperial social orders. By interpreting “full” and “empty” speech in Andrić’s novella Anika’s Times (1931), the paper attempts to show the ways in which the self, torn between desire for and deficiency of the Ottoman “big Other”, is realised.