This book analyzes top-down and bottom-up strategies of framing the nation and collective identities through commemorative practices relating to events from the Second World War and the 1990s "Homeland War" in Croatia. With attention to media representations of commemorative events and opinion poll data, it draws on interviews and participant observation at commemorative events to focus on the speeches of political elites, together with the speeches of opposition politicians and other social actors (such as the Catholic Church, anti-fascist organizations and war veterans’ and victims’ organizations) who challenge official narratives. Offering innovative approaches to researching and analyzing commemorative practices in post-conflict societies, this examination of a nation’s transition from a Yugoslav republic to an independent state – and now the newest member of the European Union – constitutes a unique case study for scholars of cultural memory and identity politics interested in the production and representation of national identities in official narratives.
Table of Contents
Framing the Nation: An Introduction to Commemorative Culture in Croatia Part 1: Socio-Cultural, Philosophical and Linguistic Approaches to Croatia's Commemorative Culture 1. Sociocultural and Ideological Determinants of Memory Culture in Croatian Society 2. A Contemporary Philosophical Perspective on Cultural Memory in Croatia 3. An Ontological and Constructional Approach to the Discourse Analysis of the Commemorative Speeches in Croatia Part 2: The Second World War Commemorations: Contested Sites of the Shared Past? 4. Framing the Narrative About Communist Crimes in Croatia: Bleiburg and Jazovka 5. Contested Sites and Fragmented Narratives: Jasenovac and Disruptions in Croatia’s Commemorative Culture Part 3: The Homeland War Commemorations 6. Heroes at the Margins: Veterans, Elites and the Narrative of War 7. Ambassadors of Memory: "Honouring the Homeland War" in Croatian Sport 8. Remembering the Hague: The Impact of International Criminal Justice on Memory Practices in Croatia 9. Filling Voids with Memories: Commemorative Rituals and Memorial Landscape in Post-War Vukovar Part 4: Transnational Dimensions of Memory 10. Homeland Celebrations Far Away from Home: The Case of the Croatian Diaspora in Argentina 11. European Commemoration of Vukovar: Shared Memory or Joint Remembrance?
Vjeran Pavlaković is Associate Professor in the Department of Cultural Studies at the University of Rijeka, Croatia. He received his PhD in history in 2005 from the University of Washington and has published articles on cultural memory, transitional justice in the former Yugoslavia and the Spanish Civil War. His recent publications include Yugoslav Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War (2016) and "Monumental Narratives: Memorials and Memory Politics of the Croatian Homeland War" in In Memoriam Republika Hrvatska (2017). He is also the lead researcher on the project Framing the Nation and Collective Identity in Croatia: Political Rituals and the Cultural Memory of Twentieth Century Traumas funded by the Croatian Science Foundation.
Davor Pauković is Associate Professor in the Department of Mass Communication at the University of Dubrovnik, Croatia. He received his PhD in contemporary history in 2010 from the University of Zagreb. He teaches courses in contemporary Croatian and world history. He has published five edited volumes and a dozen articles on political transition in Croatia, dealing with the past, dissolution of Yugoslavia, the Serb minority in Croatia and Serbo-Croatian relations. He is currently editor in chief of the international journal Contemporary Issues and a researcher on the project Framing the Nation and Collective Identity in Croatia: Political Rituals and the Cultural Memory of Twentieth Century Traumas funded by the Croatian Science Foundation. His recent publications include Croatia and the European Union: Changes and Development (2016).
"The example of Croatian commemorative culture, analysed in the collective volume edited by Vjeran Pavlaković and Davor Pauković, shows the limits of the European project of reconciliation in post-conflict societies. [It] offers a systematic empirical study of the cultural memory not only of victimhood but also of victory, i.e. of commemorations where the war is celebrated and heroism glorified. […] The analysis of Croatian cultural memory can serve as a basis for comparative studies in Southeast Europe, a region where European integration has not followed an easy path, in order to investigate a series of questions: under which conditions reconciliation with the 'dark past' is possible; who the memory entrepreneurs in each case are and how efficient the top-down memory politics; how entangled and disputed memories of the major conflicts of the twentieth century have been reshaped, renegotiated, or abused due to dramatic changes and new conflicts which emerged after 1989; how efficiently national commemorative cultures have been accommodated by the EU in its own project of constructing a shared European memory. Finally, in our era of digital revolution, we need to understand how new memory communities are formed through social media and how a kind of global memory culture transcends national borders." Christina Koulouri, Southeastern Europe
"Taken for its individual contributions, the volume presents useful frameworks for evaluating contentious pasts, but as a whole, it paints a broad yet intricately painted image of post-conflict memory. [It] is a great resource for researchers first and foremost of the interdisciplinary field of memory studies and further of sociology, political science, philosophy, and history more generally. Beyond this, memory activists working in post-conflict societies like the former Yugoslavia—perhaps in similarly divided or contested spaces like Northern Ireland, Canada, or the successor states of the Soviet Union, to name but a few—will benefit from this volume through its outlining of state and non-state actors’ commemorative strategies." Taylor McConnell, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics
"The volume is effective at demonstrating how the nation and national identity are imagined through political rituals performed at war commemorations. Thus, its goal of creating a methodological tool which can be applied to wider post socialist or post conflict contexts is unquestionably achieved. More than that, this volume provides a great introductory analytical framework for an audience beginning to explore the complexities of the regional clashes over memory. It has undoubtedly proven the operational utility and the potential of databases such as the FRAMNAT project." Dragana Prvulovic, Journal of Contemporary European Studies
"Framing the Nation and Collective Identities highlights Croatia's specific mnemonic legacies of both the Second World War and Titoist Yugoslavia, but also several concerns that the country shares with others—the effects of EU accession and the lasting shadow of (post)communism among them. The volume is an instructive read for anybody interested in memory politics." - Zora Hesová, Comparative Southeast European Studies