The Nonconformists: Culture, Politics, and Nationalism in a Serbian Intellectual Circle, 1944-1991
Nick Miller argues in this provocative study that to comprehend Yugoslavia's collapse, we must examine the development and nature of Serbian nationalism, and the typical approaches will not suffice. Serbia's national movement of the 1980s and 1990s, Miller suggests, was not the product of an ancient, immutable, and aggressive Serbian national identity; nor was it an artificial creation of powerful political actors looking to capitalize on its mobilizing power. In examining the work of three influential Serbian intellectuals, Miller argues that cultural processes are too often ignored in favor of political ones; that Serbian intellectuals did work within a historical context, but that they were not slaves to the past; that Serbian history is not a continuous reiteration of static themes. His subjects are Dobrica Cosic (a novelist), Mica Popovic (a painter) and Borislav Mihajlovic Mihiz (a literary critic). These three men were part of a circle of friends who began the postwar with (mostly!) open minds about the promise of the new communist order and who wound up by 1974 as inveterate opponents of the regime and nationalists. Together, the work of these men indicates that nationalism was more than a tool for cynical and needy politicians, and less an ancient bequest than an unsurprising response to real conditions in Tito's Yugoslavia. Book jacket.
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