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Serb Elite Rivalry in Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s
220 pages, 7 tables, bibliog, index
ISBN 978-1-84545-726-6 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (January 2010)
eISBN 978-1-84545-791-4 eBook
“This book is based on a profound and detailed analysis…that shows very convincingly the dynamics that the political elites succeeded in exploiting in the course of the instrumentalization of the national: behind the ethnicization [during the disintegration of Yugoslavia] were power-political interests. In this study Caspersen offers a convincing new perspective on the radicalization of nationalism.” · Südosteuropa
"Empirically, the book makes a major contribution to the study of intra-Serb relations and rivalries during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia… it constructs a new theoretical framework that will allow for more nuanced and accurate explanations of intra-ethnic competition and inter-ethnic conflicts." · Peter Viggo Jakobsen, University of Copenhagen
“This important and pioneering work well illustrates the complexities of nationalist politics and offers a novel conceptual model for its study.” · Slavic Review
"Only unity saves the Serbs" is the famous call for unity in the Serb nationalist doctrine. But even though this doctrine was ideologically adhered to by most of the Serb leaders in Croatia and Bosnia, disunity characterized Serb politics during the Yugoslav disintegration and war. Nationalism was contested and nationalist claims to homogeneity did not reflect the reality of Serb politics. This book provides a comprehensive analysis of Serb politics and challenges widespread assumptions regarding the Yugoslav conflict and war. It finds that although Slobodan Milosevic played a highly significant role, he was not always able to control the local Serb leaders. Moreover, it adds to the emerging evidence of the lack of importance of popular attitudes; hardline dominance was generally based on the control of economic and coercive resources rather than on elites successfully "playing the ethnic card." It moves beyond an assumption of automatic ethnic outbidding and thus contributes toward a better understanding of intra-ethnic rivalry in other cases such as Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland, Nagorno-Karabakh and Rwanda.
Nina Caspersen is a Lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies.