If a country, this country, is so much itself, we don’t really know. What we need to do, then, is to look into it, to understand the texture of what gives it existence – its properties, its singularities – and to probe what has shaped, informed and deformed it. Precisely because some people believe it exists as a fixed entity or essence, and take the liberty of awarding certificates or excluding it, it’s necessary to go by the wayside and check it out on the spot.

Jean-Christophe Bailly, Le Dépaysement. Ed. du Seuil