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Contested Nationalism

Serb Elite Rivalry in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s

Contested Nationalism
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"Only unity saves the Serbs" is the famous call for unity in the Serb nationalist doctrine. But even though this doctrine was ideologically adhered to by most of the Serb leaders in Croatia and Bosnia, disunity characterized Serb politics during the Yugoslav disintegration and war. Nationalism was contested and nationalist claims to homogeneity did not reflect the reality of Serb politics. This book provides a comprehensive analysis of Serb politics and challenges widespread assumptions regarding the Yugoslav conflict and war. It finds that although Slobodan Milosevic played a highly significant role, he was not always able to control the local Serb leaders. Moreover, it adds to the emerging evidence of the lack of importance of popular attitudes; hardline dominance was generally based on the control of economic and coercive resources rather than on elites successfully "playing the ethnic card." It moves beyond an assumption of automatic ethnic outbidding and thus contributes toward a better understanding of intra-ethnic rivalry in other cases such as Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland, Nagorno-Karabakh and Rwanda.

Berghahn Books; January 2010
220 pages; ISBN 9781845457914
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