The formation of Croatian national identity. A centuries-old dream?

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Publication Date 2003
ISBN 0-7190-6502-X
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This work addresses the era of post-Yugoslav politics and society from which emerged the state of Croatia. It looks at the process by which Croatia rose to nationhood after centuries of holding an identity which was fiercely Croatian but short of becoming a nation state.

The book is organised over seven chapters. Chapter one explores the wider context of the nature and origins of nationalism and national identity. New approaches to the study of national identity formation are the subject of chapter two, which assesses how they might be used to study the formation of Croatian national identity in the 1990s. Chapter three studies the historical notion of statehood, the narrative arising from that notion and its influence on earlier conceptions of Croatian national identity - which in turn was used by actors in the 1990s move to statehood. Chapter four explores contemporary accounts of Croatian national identity and the competing forces which seek to 'speak for the nation'. The impact of that competition on social practices in Croatia are examined in chapter five, which looks at the economy, football and the strong assertion of political and regional identity by the region of Istria at the northern end of Croatia's Adriatic coast. Other social practices are featured in chapter six which looks at language, education and the Catholic Church. The conclusion returns to the wider context of primordialism and modernist approaches to national identity and goes on to offer five themes as an alternative way of thinking about national identity.

The work will interest scholars and students engaged in studies of nationalism and national identity as well as students of post-Yugoslav politics.

Alex J. Bellamy is lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia.

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