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Slovenian Intellectuals and Yugoslavism in the 1980s: Propositions, Theses, Questions

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Zajc, Marko

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Abstract The predominant “story” about the Slovenian nationalism before the collapse of the SFRY is simple: The Slovenian nationalism (negative perception) or “the Slovenian spring” (positive perception) “ap-peared” in the 1980s, it identified itself as “anti-Yugoslavism” and reached the climax in 1991 with the Slovenian independence. Yet, historical sources - both archival and publicist - expose different story: the relation between Slovenian nationalism and Yugoslavism is much more ambiguous and complicated. Why is the Slovenian Yugoslavism of the 1980s a relevant topic for international com-parative historiography of the second Yugoslavia and its successor states? I would point out two rea-sons. First, I claim that Yugoslavism of any kind could not exist without Slovenianism, especially since the creation of the first Yugoslavia in 1918. The history of Slovenian Yugoslavism (or Sloveni-an nationalism in general) is not just relevant for “the Slovenian national historiography”, without “the Slovenian component” we cannot understand Yugoslavia or Yugoslavism in general, which could be understood only in historical context. Although almost all authors recognize the significance of the Slovenian-Serbian conflict for the Yugoslav collapse: they assign surprisingly little attention to Slovenian intellectual circles. They are almost always mentioned, but rarely properly analyzed. Sec-ondly, most of historical analysis is preoccupied with the reasons for the collapse of the Yugoslavia. As H. Grandits and H. Sundhaussen have pointed out, if we research the history of a state that does not exist anymore, we unintentionally “search for” elements of the past, which explain why the state had failed. This is also the reason why Slovenian historians – those who consider the methodology of the academic historiography – are mainly focused on the “processes of independence” or the “process-es of democratization”. Slovenian Yugoslavism is not in the spotlight of attention, furthermore, it is mostly seen as an insignificant side-effect of the official Yugoslav ideology of “brotherhood and uni-ty”, not as something genuinely Slovenian.
Keywords Yugoslavia; Slovenia; intellectual; nationalism; historiography; failed state; elite formation; historical analysis
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Document language English
Publication Year 2015
Page/Pages p. 46-65
Journal Südosteuropäische Hefte, 4 (2015) 1
ISSN 2194-3710
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works