From Yugoslavism to Serbism: the Serb national idea 1986-1996

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During the 1986-96 period, the intellectual debate on Serb national goals was characterised by a previously unparalleled diversity of views. the draft of the Serbian Academy's Memorandum, which sparked this debate in 1986, advocated an 'integrative' Yugoslav federation whose primary aim would be to foster Serbism, that is, to facilitate Serb political and cultural unification. After 1988, the differences between Yugoslavism and Serbism became obvious as advocates of Serb unification rejected Yugoslavia as a costly mistake. In rejecting Yugoslavism, some Serb intellectuals insisted on the regeneration fo Serbia and its population, while others argued for the primacy of the unification of all Serb=populated lands into one state. The resulting diversity of views may be perhaps explicable by a persistent disagreement among the intellectuals concerning the basis of Serb national identity, as well as by their focus on an exclusivist and collectivist view of national goals; the latter, it is suggested, is a result of the continuing use of the idea of Serb unification as a part of the programme of serb national liberation from foreign domination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)511-528
Number of pages18
JournalNations and Nationalism
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1998


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