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A centuries-old dream?

This book assesses the formation of Croatian national identity in the 1990s. It develops a novel framework, calling into question both primordial and modernist approaches to nationalism and national identity, before applying that framework to Croatia. In doing so, the book provides a new way of thinking about how national identity is formed and why it is so important. An explanation is given of how Croatian national identity was formed in the abstract, via a historical narrative that traces centuries of yearning for a national state. The book shows how the government, opposition parties, dissident intellectuals and diaspora groups offered alternative accounts of this narrative in order to legitimise contemporary political programmes based on different versions of national identity. It then looks at how these debates were manifested in social activities as diverse as football, religion, economics and language. This book attempts to make an important contribution to both the way we study nationalism and national identity, and our understanding of post-Yugoslav politics and society.

programme, or – as in the case of the dissident intellectuals – to challenge such accounts. However, they all attempted to give resonance to abstract ideas in the contemporary context. After a discussion of the so-called ‘Franjoist’ narrative offered by President Franjo Tuœman and his party, I will discuss alternative conceptions of identity that were articulated by opposition parties, dissident intellectuals and the Croatian diaspora. I argue that each of these ‘political entrepreneurs’ drew upon, and offered interpretations of, the historical statehood thesis in order

in The formation of Croatian national identity
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programme or not) or, as in the case of the dissident intellectuals attempted to challenge those programmes or deconstruct the ‘big stories’ of national identity. To that end, Chapter 4 focuses on competing ideas of national identity articulated in 1990s Croatia by the government and its supporters, opposition parties and dissident intellectuals. The third level of analysis considers the ways that the ideas articulated in the first two levels were manifested and reinterpreted in social activity. Focusing on six case studies, the study at this level identifies contests

in The formation of Croatian national identity
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Competing claims to national identity

nation can have many different meanings in different times and places. Moreover, invocations of national identity need not signify the same thing. Ljudevit Gaj’s ‘Croatia’ was very different from that of Ante Starïeviç. More recently, Franjo Tuœman’s conception of what Croatian national identity meant was very different to that of many opposition parties and the dissident intellectuals. This was seen, for instance, in the debate about the relationship between Bosnian Croats and Croatia proper. Finally, these five themes draw our attention to the importance of social

in The formation of Croatian national identity
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intelligible in contemporary Croatia. As such, Chapter 4 asks, how is Croatian national identity expressed in contemporary symbolism and rhetoric? This chapter considers four different groups of accounts that were articulated in the 1990s and attempted either to furnish abstract ideas of national identity with ideational, political and material salience to secure support for particular nationalist or non-nationalist political programmes, or (in the case of the dissident intellectuals) to expose the frailties and inconsistencies of such programmes. Thus, these first two

in The formation of Croatian national identity

like ‘ returning home ’ (Petrović 2009 : 62; emphasis original). In Yugoslav contexts the ‘Asiatic’ frame could also be employed against Serbia – and, in some anti-Milošević discourses by the Serbian youth movement Otpor before his fall in 2000, even within it (Kilibarda 2010 : 45). 19 ‘Returns to Europe’ imagined by dissident intellectuals and the winners of Slovenia's and Croatia's multi-party elections might even have drawn on a transnational revival of ‘Europe’ in late 1980

in Race and the Yugoslav region

outside observers, ruling elites and dissident intellectuals alike (compare Hann 1996: 7–10). All chapters in this book stress the fact that the socialist societies were at least in the last decade of their existence socialist only in form, but informal and locally distinct in content. The socialist state in its last two decades was a rather weak state, although its vertical command lines were functional until the late 1980s. The social institutions compensating for (or simply exploiting) the failures, voids and weaknesses were informal, often even illegal, since the

in Potentials of disorder