Sergej Flere, Rudi Klanjšek, “The Rise and Fall of Socialist Yugoslavia: Elite Nationalism and the Collapse of a Federation”
This book examines the relationship between nationalism and the rise and fall of Yugoslavia under the rule of Josip Broz Tito. It deals particularly with the interactions between communist and intellectual elites. The authors analyze elites’ initial enthusiasm about the Yugoslav federation and how, with time, they found themselves unable to suppress the nationalists in Yugoslavia. Other scholars have argued that, in a certain sense, Tito’s Yugoslavia proved to be a “hatchery” for the nations that once constituted Yugoslavia, making them ever closer to “completeness.” However, as the authors highlight in this study, this process was one of conflict. The personal role of Tito as an arbiter was essential, although, for the majority of his time in power, he did not act as a dictator. His departure was strongly felt in the 1980s, when ethnic entrepreneurial activity began to flourish—and when ethnic and political relations had gone out of control. While a significant part of this book follows the chronology of ethnic elite interaction in communist Yugoslavia, the global context of Yugoslavia’s rise and fall is taken into account. The authors also use Yugoslavia as a case study to test the validity of nationalism studies more generally.
Sergej Flere is emeritus member of the Slovene Sociological Society.
Rudi Klanjsek is associate professor of sociology and researcher at the Center for the Study of Post-Socialist Societies at the University of Maribor.
CHAPTER 1: THE PROCESS OF FORMATION OF THE YUGOSLAV STATE AT THE END OF WORLD WAR II
CHAPTER 2: COMMUNIST “DICTATORSHIPS”
CHAPTER 3: WAS “TITO’S” YUGOSLAVIA TOTALITARIAN?
CHAPTER 4: TITO’S “LETTER” INTERVENTION IN 1972
CHAPTER 5: DENOUEMENT: THE EIGHTIES
CHAPTER 6: SECESSION, DISUNION, DISSOLUTION, CESSATION: BETWEEN THE LEGAL AND THE FACTUAL
CHAPTER 7: THEORETICAL EXPLANATIONS OF THE DISSOLUTION OF ETHNICITIES AND NATIONALISM
CHAPTER 8: THE ECHOES OF YUGOSLAVIA: HOW DID THE POST-YUGOSLAV STATES FARE AND DOES THE YUGOSLAV CASE HOLD ANY RELEVANCE IN THE EUROPEAN CONTEXT?
This is an interesting and insightful analysis focusing of the role political elites have played in the creation, maintenance and collapse of the Yugoslav federal state. Flere and Klanjšek offer a comprehensive and in-depth analysis which highlights the complex and contradictory nature of the Yugoslav state project. This book makes an important contribution to the wider scholarly literature on state formation, nationalism and the dissolution of complex state structures.
— Siniša Malešević, University College, Dublin
This is an important study which complements the existing arguments and what some have embraced as definite explanations of the Yugoslav drama. By reviewing the voluminous literature and pointing the finger at problematic academic agendas, the authors unpack a whole range of dilemmas and discrepancies, but also invite new contributions. Moreover, the complex Yugoslav puzzle is of great relevance for assessments of the current European context, either in terms of lessons learnt or disintegrationist tendencies characterizing the European project.
— Branislav Radeljić, University of East London
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