The social origins and political uses of popular narratives on Serbian disunity

Filozofija I Društvo 2005 (26):65-104 (2005)

Abstract

The text offers an examination of socio-political bases, modes of functioning, and of the consequences of political instrumentalisation of popular narratives on Serbian disunity. The first section of the paper deals with what is being expressed and what is being done socially when narratives on Serbian disunity are invoked in everyday discourses. The next section investigates what political actor sty, by publicly replicating them, or by basing their speeches on key words of those narratives. The narratives on Serbian disunity are then related to their historical and social contexts, and to various forms of identity politics with which they share common traits. The nineteenth century wars over political and cultural identity, intensified by the struggle between contesting claims to political authority, further channeled by the development of party politics in Serbia and radicalized by conflicts of interest and ideology together provided the initial reasons for the apparition of modern discourses on Serbian disunity and disaccord. Next, addressed are the uninnally solidifying or misinterpreting really existing social problems, or because of intentionally exploiting popular perceptions of such problems, the constructive potential related to existing social conflicts and splits can be completely wasted. What results is a deep feeling of frustration, and the diminishing of popular trust in the political elites and the political process in general. The contemporary hyperproduction of narratives on disunity and disaccord in Serbia seems to be directly related to the incapacity of the party system, and of the political system in general, to responsibly address, and eventually resolve historical and contemporary clashes of interest and identity-splits. If this vicious circle in which the consequences of social realities are turned into their causes is to be prevented, conflicts of interest must be discursively disassociated from ideological conflicts, as well as from identity-based conflicts, and all of them have to be disentangled from popular narratives on splits and disunity. Most important of all, the practice of political instrumentalisation of popular narratives on disunity and disaccord has to be gradually abandoned. U radu se istrazuju istorijske i drustvene osnove narodskih prica o srpskom nejedinstvu i neslozi, kao i posledice njihove politicke instrumentalizacije. Paznja se prvo usmerava na ono sto se narodskim pricama o srpskom nejedinstvu i neslozi najcesce postize u svakodnevnoj komunikaciji. Narodskim pricama se, pre svega, ukazuje na pretpostavljeno nepromenljivo svojstvo srpskog identiteta. Njima se odredjuje i glavni uzrok poraza ili neuspeha, u kom slucaju one neretko prerastaju u jeremijade nad istorijskom sudbinom Srba. Najzad, nesloga se moze predstaviti i kao posledica jednog, ili citavog niza faktora, od mentaliteta ili kulture Srba, pa do tudjinske zavere. U sledecem segmentu rada, istrazuju se vidovi politickog instrumentalizovanja narodskih prica o neslozi i ne jedinstvu Srba, odnosno njihova upotreba kao ogleda, modela i velova. U prvom slucaju, politicki akter narodsko vidjenje stanja stvari koristi kao izgovor za svoje neuspehe, ili kako bi naglasio razlike izmedju sebe, svojih takmaca i pobornika. Narativi o neslozi omogucuju akteru i da usmerava publiku na zeljeni nacin, bilo da zeli da unese nove podele u grupu, zaostrava sukob vec postojecih frakcija i povezuje se sa nekom od njih, ili a uspostavlja izgubljeno jedinstvo grupe. Obe prethodne mogucnosti akter moze iskoristiti da bi obezbedio retoricki veo kojim ce prikriti svoje prave namere. Analiza se potom pomera ka ispitivanju istorijskih i drustvenih osnova prica o srpskom ne jedinstvu. Ratovi oko politickog identiteta iz sredine i druge polovine devetnaestog veka, pojacani trvenjima izmedju rivalskih pretenzija na politicki autoritet, dodatno usanceni razvojem stranackog sistema, i radikalizovani novim oblicima sukoba izmedju interesa, vrednosti i identiteta na pocetku dvadesetog veka, zajedno su uslovili razvoj narativa o srpskom ne jedinstvu i rascepima. Na takvu osnovu su se potom nadovezivali rascepi izazvani dinastickim, konfesionalnim ili nacionalnim razlikama, svi zajedno zacementirani iskustvima ratova i revolucija. Analiza se najzad pomera ka nenameravanim posledicama narodskih prica o srpskom ne jedinstvu i razlicitih oblika njihove politicke instrumentalizacije. Zbog pogresnog predstavljanja ili objasnjavanja stvarnih problem a, karakteristicnog za narodske price, a pogotovu zbog politicke zloupotrebe narodskih prica o tim problemima, konstruktivni potencijal vezan za drustvene konflikte i njihovu narativizaciju biva ozbiljno ugrozen. Sledi duboki osecaj frustracije i opadanje poverenja u politicke elite i politicki proces uopste. U zakljucku se skrece paznja na cinjenicu da je savremeno umnozavanje narodskih prica o srpskom ne jedinstvu, kao i prakse njihove politicke instrumentalizacije, povezano sa nesposobnoscu srpskog partijskog sistema i politickog sistema uopste da se odgovorno suoci sa, a pogotovu da razresi splet istorijskih i savremenih sukoba interesa i identitetskih rascepa koji su izvoriste narodskih prica.

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Beyond “Identity”.Rogers Brubaker & Frederick Cooper - 2000 - Theory and Society 29 (1):1-47.

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