The Role of Religion in the Identity of South Slav Nations Cover Image

Uloga religije u identitetu južnoslovenskih nacija
The Role of Religion in the Identity of South Slav Nations

Author(s): Miroljub Jevtić
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Fakultet političkih nauka Univerziteta u Beogradu
Keywords: South Slaves; Religion; Nation; Identitity; Role; Ethnogenesis

Summary/Abstract: Researchers who dealt with the Balkan national question saw religion as a large formative variable in the ethnic consolidation of peoples in this part of Europe. The main difference between the three largest Balkan Slav ethnic communities - Serbs, Croats and Bosnian Muslims - is a religious one. Virtu-ally all Serbs are Orthodox Christians, Croats Catholic and Bosnian Muslims, as their preferred ethnic reference suggests, all Muslim. Changing religion in the past meant changing nations. In the past centuries when Orthodox Serbs changed their religion into Islam they also changed their ethnicity and became Bosniac. The same holds for Croats. Today’s situation shows that religious communities played very important role in development of national feeling of those nations. Nearly all Bosnian Muslim intellectuals say that the most important characteristic of their nation is their religious affiliation to Islam. Likewise, majority of Serbs and Croats consider Orthodoxy and Catholicism, respectively, as their national religion so that there is no reference such as Catholic Serb or Orthodox Croat. While the big part of the population may not be believers in the literal mean-ing of their religious faith, they, nevertheless, belong to it because of the tradi-tion. Political analysis of Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian societies show that their religious institutions are the most respected pillars of the nation. Having in mind these facts, it is clear that the degree of patriotism, national-ism, jingoism and xenophobia in those societies and among these peoples can not be researched without exact facts on the position of religious institu-tions because without that knowledge, it isn’t possible to evaluate the process of globalization of that region.

  • Issue Year: 2008
  • Issue No: 02
  • Page Range: 171-186
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Serbian