Identity and Conflict in Bosnia and Macedonia - Essay Example

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The paper “Identity and Conflict in Bosnia and Macedonia” seeks to evaluate civil war in the Balkans exacerbated long-held ethnic tensions and fragmented communities.  The Balkan conflict created a political vacuum in which social order broke down…
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Identity and Conflict in Bosnia and Macedonia
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Download file to see previous pages The 2007 book Waiting for Macedonia: Identity in a Changing World and the documentary film We Are All Neighbours consider such matters.
Thiessen writes of an “Us and Them” paradigm in Macedonia, an “Otherness” that Macedonians have adapted to meet their own perspective on the world and to gauge their place in that world (2007, p. 40). Identity in Macedonia is a fluid concept, with the country’s Slavic population reaching into the country’s ancient past in the effort to construct a national identity (Ibid). Macedonians have had only to consider the existence of a strong European identity in Germany, no stranger to fragmentation, to recognize the benefits of identification with the nation
states that comprise the European Union. In Bosnia, identity was compromised in the wake of the Tito regime’s demise. Socialism in Yugoslavia, though coercive, fostered a form of national unity, which, when independence came to the former Yugoslav states, resulted in a gradual social incoherence. The ethnic violence that ensued was, perhaps, unsurprising given the conditions in the 1990s. But the suddenness with which it occurred, and its effects on a multi-ethnic Bosnian village, is the subject of We Are All Neighbours.
The lingering effects of socialism and of life under a totalitarian regime have been blamed for the cataclysm of the 1990s. In Macedonia, Thiessen contends that it was not the absence of socialism but an absence of a national context that stirred up ethnic unrest (Thiessen, 2007, p. 25). Identity lay at the heart of the matter. Whereas the existence of Yugoslavia allowed Macedonians to think of themselves in terms of Europe, the post-socialist reality produced nostalgia for Yugoslavia that was tantamount to the desire for a future as part of the European community (Ibid). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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