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Nationalist Mobilization and Stories of Serb Suffering: The Kosovo Myth from 600th Anniversary to the Present

Bieber, Florian (2002) Nationalist Mobilization and Stories of Serb Suffering: The Kosovo Myth from 600th Anniversary to the Present. Rethinking History, 6 (1). pp. 95-110. ISSN 1364-2529. (doi:10.1080/136425200110112137) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:8319)

Language: English

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This article focuses on how the myth of the Kosovo battle of 1389 was resurrected as part of the nationalist revival in Serbia in the later 1980s, and the different ends to which it was put during the violent struggles of the 1990s. Cultivated through centuries of Ottoman rule, the myth decreased in importance during the communist period but re-emerged in Serbia in the 1980s as a powerful mobilizing tool, often juxtaposed with the supposed 'genocide' of Serbs at the hands of Albanians in the autonomous province. The wide ranging sexcentenary celebrations in 1989 were a display of the newly found (and short-lived) unity between church, state and different nationalist traditions in Serbia, marked by a well-known speech by Slobodan Milosevicon the site of the medieval battle. Ten years later,Serbian troops withdrew from Kosovo, effectively ending the decade-long domination of the Milosevicregime over the province; but even with the end of Serb rule, the Kosovo myth remained relevant in Serbian political discourse. This article explores the different interpretations given to the historical battle since the 1980s, the manipulability of historical facts, and how historical myths are put to use for political ends. It highlights the circular conception of time put forward by nationalist ideology with the implied repetitions of the medieval battle in contemporary and recent events experienced by Serbs; this strategy aims to tie individual and collective memories together in a unity to insure the individual's loyalty to the nation.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/136425200110112137
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DR Balkan Peninsula
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Florian Bieber
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2008 20:37 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 09:46 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Bieber, Florian.

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