Re-imagining the nation
in The formation of Croatian national identity

Some years before the ‘Warwick debate’, the journal Millennium held a symposium entitled ‘re-imagining the nation’. In his introduction to the volume, Adam Lerner suggested that ‘[t]he nation exists as much in people's minds as it does in the world’. The contributors to this collection agreed that the ‘great divide’ offered unsatisfactory ways of understanding the formation of national identity and shared a desire to ‘re-imagine’ the nation in ways that could build on the insights offered by both sides of the divide. This chapter considers some of these new approaches to the study of national identity formation and assesses how they can be used to study the formation of Croatian national identity in the 1990s. Liisa Mallki, Michael Billig, Sarah Radcliffe and Sally Westwood have offered alternative ways of thinking about nation formation that expose how nations are continually produced and reproduced in human subjectivity. Paul James introduced two new concepts to the study of nationalism and national identity: ‘continuity-in-discontinuity’ and ‘abstract community’. This chapter looks at Croatia as an abstract community.

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