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The Role of Civic Identity in the Evolution of Relations Between Serbian and Croatian Civil Societies

Journal: RUDN Journal of Political Science (Vol.23, No. 4)

Publication Date:

Authors : ; ;

Page : 675-691

Keywords : Ethnic conflict; civic identity; reconciliation; Serbia; Croatia; Balkans;

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For decades, Croats and Serbs lived together in a common political construction: Yugoslavia. It is difficult to date the appearance of animosity between Croats and Serbs. Nevertheless, two events proved particularly traumatic for their relations. The Second World War, when the Ustasha led a genocide against the Serbs, and the 1991-1995 war, when the two sides fought a merciless civil war. This article examines the evolution of relations between Serbian and Croatian civil societies from the beginning of the Yugoslavian project to 2021 and how the rise of civic identity in the future might help the process of reconciliation. The main hypothesis of the article is that the failure to construct a viable Yugoslavian civic identity in the past is the cause of ethnic tensions during the 90s. The article entails both qualitative and quantitative methods through which the authors offer explanations about the failure to construct a common Yugoslavian civic identity, how this failure impacted the relations between Serbian and Croatian civil societies, and, finally, what are the prospects of reconciliation and constructing civic identities in the newly formed countries of Serbia and Croatia. Today, relations between the two civil societies remain tense. Serbs in Croatia and Croats in Serbia are subject to unsystematic discrimination, which hinders exchanges between the two countries. This study shows that Serbian and Croatian citizens under 35 years of age, mainly agree that tensions exist. Nevertheless, two-thirds of those questioned in Serbia and three-quarters of those questioned in Croatia believe that reconciliation is possible. This reconciliation becomes even more realistic since an overwhelming majority in both groups want reconciliation.

Last modified: 2021-11-26 23:20:22