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I exist, I belong, I contribute: the self and the collective in Croatian national discourse

Berdak, OK; (2012) I exist, I belong, I contribute: the self and the collective in Croatian national discourse. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis examines individual participation in nationalism and the re-making of the state in Croatia since 1990. Using a variety of first-person sources - diaries, autobiographies, letters, newspaper interviews and programmatic statements - and drawing on insights from literary analysis and gender theory, this research explores the ways in which individual and collective selfhood was constituted in this period. The demise of Yugoslavia has been so far mostly studied through the prism of the war and its causes. A different approach is taken here by looking at the 1990s as a time of intense negotiations over the form and content of political community, shifting individual parameters of existence and self-definition. Notions of national subjectivity as well as of exception and normality are used to explore tensions between the personal and the social, the public and the private. How people wrote themselves into the changes affecting Yugoslavia and Croatia, how they narrated their own roles and conveyed implicit understandings of the '(ab)normal' reveals the ways in which various individuals not only adopted but also contested dominant state narratives, complicating our vision of resistance and complicity in nationalism. The thesis is organised around particular subject positions, which effectively portray the limited arsenal of (public) self-definitions available during a nationalist conflict. This was a time of an intense politicisation of the self, with conflicting visions of democratic participation, national belonging and contribution. By focusing on particular individuals and their various forms of self-presentation, this study demonstrates how people right across the political spectrum were all implicated in constructing the new parameters of state and citizenship.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: I exist, I belong, I contribute: the self and the collective in Croatian national discourse
Language: English
Additional information: Permission for digitisation not received
Keywords: Nationalism, Croatia, Yugoslavia, war, citizenship, subjectivity, gender, agency
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > SSEES
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1379021
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