Dino Abazović and Mitja Velikonja, eds. Post-Yugoslavia: New Cultural and Political Perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

1 = page number
“…” = quote of book text
“… “…” …” = text in quotation marks in book text
‘…’ = quote in book of another text (source)
[…] = my notes
= summary or paraphrase of book text



Marlies Glasius and Francesco Colona. “The Yugoslavia Tribunal: The Moving Targets of a Legal Theatre.”

16-25 Achievements the ICTY lists as its accomplishments, deconstructed:

  1. Holding leaders accountable. Some have not been indicted, others died before arrest or conviction, others still were pronounced not guilty or released early. Failed to individualize guilt completely.
  2. Bringing justice to the victims. International justice was for international audiences.
  3. Giving victims a voice. Only those useful to prosecution/defense were heard.
  4. Establishing the facts (historical record). Only a small number of people prosecuted. Each side still considers the Court to be biased against them.
  5. Developing international law. Impossible to compare.
  6. Strengthening the rule of law (in ex-YU countries by spurring local trials). Negative perceptions of ICTY prevent full reform.

25-27 + Other accomplishments stated by analysts

  1. Deterrence. Srebrenica, Kosovo.
  2. Reconciliation. Truth is still contested.
Dino Abazović. “Reconciliation, Ethnopolitics and Religion in Bosnia-Herzegovina.”

35 Current situation in Bosnia:

  • complex institutional system
  • “perpetual political crisis” via the proliferation of ethno-politics
  • economic underperformance
  • non-existent progress towards EU
  • very limited pace of reforms
  • insufficient efforts to mitigate war’s consequences
  • “a predominant ethnicization of all aspects of social and political life”

36 Dayton Peace Agreement “relies on fundamental contradictions”:

  • declared a unified state but recognized two antagonistic entities within it
  • proclaimed democracy but entrenched ethnically-based institutions
  • reaffirmed individual rights but legitimized ethnic majoritarianism
  • established an institutional framework that prevents the accord’s implementation

“Absence of war” rather than peace.

38 Early post-socialist period in BiH was marked both by a “nationalization of the sacral” and a “sacralization of the national”. “[E]thno-national political ideologies have demanded (and been granted) the support of organized religious doctrines in order to legitimize [the] new establishments.” Religion is the main identity/consciousness marker.

Religion in BiH is manifested both through religious leaders and official expressions and through local traditions and customs.

39 “Religion was politicized through ethnicization.”

40 Public life is ethnicized.

“the post-war ethno-political order in Bosnia-Herzegovina is based on the political production and maintenance of an entire network of differences. There is no room for a citizen in such a network…”

Ethno-politics is the result of ethno-religious nationalism and used to “justify ethnically-based social constructions and institutions.”

“discrimination on the basis of kinship”

41 Jonathan Allen: There are 7 models of transitional justice:

  • amnesia / inaction
  • pardons
  • full amnesty
  • prosecution and trials
  • lustration
  • publicity (e.g. opening of secret police files)
  • conditional amnesty / truth commissions

But in BiH none of these are realized fully, and “the vast majority of the population seems to be chronically unwilling to engage publically [sic] in discussion about reconciliation.”

Jonathan Allen: BiH ‘suffers from a deficit of truth — factual knowledge about past atrocities is lacking, official resist acknowledging the existence of such events…and victims seek acknowledgment of their suffering.’

42 Past is manipulated through denial or victimization.

43 Mark Amstutz: retributive justice (backward-looking; prosecution, trials, punishment) vs restorative justice (forward-looking; truth-telling, moral accountability, reconciliation)

44 Trials, even when transferred to national jurisdictions, have not helped normalize relations among ethnic groups.

45 Individual guilt was folded into ethno-political / collective guilt.

BiH: Low level of social trust, high level of social exclusion and social-sphere fragmentation

47 “Although the armed violence has ended, the conflict is not over in Bosnia-Herzegovina.”

50 “The design of its political institutions does not encourage cross-ethnic cooperation; rather, it institutionalizes ethnic discrimination.”

For reconciliation to occur:

  • BiH must confront the past
  • organized religions must redefine their role toward tolerance and nonviolence
Vjekoslav Perica. “Heroes of a New Kind Commemorations and Appropriations of Yugoslavia’s Sporting and Pop-Cultural Heritage.”

97 “post-Yugoslav states continue to deal with selection, appropriation and re-distribution of the common state’s cultural property, myths, symbols, heroes, memorials and historical legacies that resist revisionism.” Most are in sports, music, and film, part of “an attractive and usable past.”

Most common hero archetypes in the YU space:

  • warrior
  • bandit / guerrilla
  • leader
  • martyr

Modern heroes included sport stars, writers, rockers, film stars…

In the revisionist 1990s, the old archetypes were promoted (soldiers, paramilitaries, strongmen), Tito-era heroes demonized.

98 In music, the clash was between Yugorock (socialist) and turbofolk (ethno-nationalist).

101 Problem with creating new heroes: mixed background / cultural heritage, e.g. Nikola Tesla, Ivo Andrić

102 “post-Yugoslav national heroic pantheons still wait to be staffed…by appropriate cults from the most controversial recent history.”

Redeeming [unifying?] potential: icons of Yugoslavia’s popular culture and sport, particularly from the 1980s

104 Generations:

  • Partisan generation: born before and fought in the war
  • Post-Partisan generation: born after the war, in 1950s and 1960s, came of age in late 1970s and “antebellum 1980s”
  • Post-Yugoslav

105-120 Possible alternative heroes, as “products of the Yugoslav interethnic and inter-confessional synthesis through longer periods of time”:

  • Mate Parlov, boxer
  • Kresimir Ćosić, basketball player and coach
  • Mirza Delibašić, basketball player
  • Dražen Petrović, basketball player
  • Milan Mladenović and Margita Magi Stefanović, musicians
  • Branimir Johnny Štulić

Also, albeit somewhat controversially, Djordje Balašević.

Well-known anti-hero: Emir Kusturica.

122 Yugonostalgia “remembers” personalities and their legacies within the context of socialism showing the system worked and culturally represented a more sophisticated, modern urban culture / society vs. the post-YU “rural primitivism” manifested in racism or turbofolk.

123 “Progressive factions in the post-Yugoslav elites occasionally try to cash in on Yugonostalgia in order to present its liberal image.” E.g. Milan Mladenović Street in Zagreb, or pedestal-ization of Dražen Petrović.

125 “the resilience and modernizing evidence of the common multinational interethnic pop-cultural heritage of the SFRY”

“cultures of memory, at least symbolically, prolong the long process of Yugoslav disintegration.”

Yugoslavia is a different things to different people:

  • Catholic Church, right-wingers: ‘the communist inferno’ [Tudjman]
  • “Lost Generation”: lost paradise
  • neoliberals: resource for whitewashing ethnic nationalism and for legitimization of them as tolerant and progressive

…and in different ex-YU countries.

128-9 “the (post)Yugoslav pop culture and its derivates, legacies and continuities…helped to construct a…surprisingly durable community of memories and values while also building a bridge among the three generations… Thus Yugoslavia lives through film, in sports, rock, pop and most recently hip-hop and rap music. (…) the living SFRY cult is something more than a set of symbols, myths, memories, films and nostalgic tunes. It does not mean rehabilitation of the Titoist system. After all, during the socialist period, Yugoslav pop-culture came from below, not from above. (…) The revival…is also an imagined, improved version of the SFRY.”