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 dissidentintellectuals – 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, dissidentintellectuals and the
Croatian diaspora. I argue that each of these ‘political entrepreneurs’ drew upon,
and offered interpretations of, the historical statehood thesis in order
programme or not) or, as in the case of the dissidentintellectuals 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 dissidentintellectuals.
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
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 dissidentintellectuals. 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
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 dissidentintellectuals) to expose the frailties
and inconsistencies of such programmes. Thus, these first two
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).
‘Returns to Europe’ imagined by dissidentintellectuals 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
outside observers, ruling elites and dissidentintellectuals 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