“Now You See Who Is a Friend and Who an Enemy.” Sport as an Ethnopolitical Identity Tool in Postsocialist Croatia Cover Image
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“Now You See Who Is a Friend and Who an Enemy.” Sport as an Ethnopolitical Identity Tool in Postsocialist Croatia
“Now You See Who Is a Friend and Who an Enemy.” Sport as an Ethnopolitical Identity Tool in Postsocialist Croatia

Author(s): Dario Brentin
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: De Gruyter Oldenbourg

Summary/Abstract: Abstract. The disintegration of socialist Yugoslavia and the subsequent Homeland War signified the beginning of essential transformations of Croatia’s political, economic, and ideological cornerstones. In this formative period of crisis and beyond, sport proved to be a highly politicized realm of national expression in which narratives of nation, identity, and culture were intensely articulated. Moreover, sport can be described as a unique source of social knowledge contributing greatly to the formation, establishment, and conservation of the newly emerging Croatian national identity. Sport, as a Croatian “national motor”, was constructed as a field where ethnic homogeneity dominated and functioned as a field of boundary construction and symbolic inclusion/exclusion. Affirming Franjo Tuđman’s presidential narrative of Croatia as the “Homeland of all Croats”, members of national minorities or athletes claiming transethnic identities were thus subsequently marginalized, silenced, and implicitly denied. In such a political culture, the field of sport continuously epitomized central ideological narratives functioning as influential transmitters of political and symbolic messages for breaking down social reality and reconstituting it in ethnic terms. The paper offers an insight into how post-Yugoslav societies were homogenized not only through ethnic warfare and post-conflict ethnic engineering, but also through practices of symbolic exclusion and inclusion, as shown through the case of postsocialist Croatian sport.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 02
  • Page Range: 187-207
  • Page Count: 21
  • Language: English