Hailing the Serbian "people" a critical analysis of the central role of the Kosovo myth in the constitution of Serbian ethno-national identity and the normalization of violence in the former Yugoslavia /
Abstract (Summary)Throughout the fifty years in which Josip Broz Tito was the leader of Yugoslavia, ethnic tensions had been nearly non-existent. Throughout the region, Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks had shared the same schools, places of employment and residences, and had a common language. For the most part, people’s ethnic and religious identities were subordinate to their identity as Yugoslavs. Yet, by the end of the 1980s, ethno-national consciousness became a part of the daily lives of many Yugoslav people. For this to be possible, peoples’ Yugoslav identity had to become tertiary. This project examines the role of rhetoric in discounting the pan-Slavic identity among Serbs and in constituting an exclusive, racialized, and highly politicized Serbian people in its place. I critique the rhetorical strategies of Serbian cultural elites and analyze the public discourse of Slobodan Milosevic with an eye to the ways in which politics and culture worked in conjunction toward a common end. In doing so I posit the effects of constitutive discourses on the polarizing national identities that rapidly replaced the largely unified Yugoslav identity, thereby legitimizing the mass violence that characterized the break-up of the Yugoslav Federation. Through essential discourses of historic victimization, the way in which Serb identity was situated in relation to Yugoslavia and the rest of the world at large was increasingly polarizing. Discourses of historic persecution and Serbian “racial” superiority led to the rhetorical constitution of a Serbian people for which ethnic division was normalized and war was justified in the name of a mytho-historic righting of wrongs. Narratives surrounding the mythic 1389 Battle of Kosovo and a mythologized version of WWII worked in conjunction with a slanted version of Yugoslavian history to constitute a modern Serbian people, while also creating a threatening other. This type of polarization was used to politically charge Serbian ethnic identity.
School:The University of Georgia
School Location:USA - Georgia
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication: