Contemporary accounts of Croatian national identity
in The formation of Croatian national identity

This chapter investigates how the Croatian nation was imagined in the 1990s. It focuses on four sets of accounts that attempted to provide contemporary resonance to the abstract frames of national identity. After a discussion of the so-called ‘Franjoist’ narrative offered by Croatia's President Franjo Tuðman and his party, it looks at alternative conceptions of identity that were articulated by opposition parties, dissident intellectuals, and the Croatian diaspora. It argues that each of these ‘political entrepreneurs’ drew upon, and offered interpretations of, the historical statehood thesis in order to legitimise their programmes or to challenge the manifestos of others. The abstract frames thus presented common frames of reference with which to seek legitimacy for political practices or to use to question that legitimacy. Ideas about national identity provide a framework for political discourse. In the case of a nation that has only recently achieved statehood, issues of state politics are ‘nationalised’ and particular rules of engagement are developed.


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