Collective experiences in the former Yugoslavia documents and analyses how social representations and practices are shaped by collective violence in a context of ethnic discourse. What are the effects of violence and what are the effects of collectively experienced victimisation on societal norms, attitudes and collective beliefs? This volume stresses that mass violence has a de- and re-structuring role for manifold psychosocial processes. A combined psychosocial approach draws attention to how most people in the former Yugoslavia had to endure and cope with war and dramatic societal changes and how they resisted and overcame ethnic rivalry, violence and segregation. It is a departure from the mindset that depict most people in the former Yugoslavia as either blind followers of ethnic war entrepreneurs or as intrinsically motivated for violence by deep-rooted intra-ethnic loyalties and inter-ethnic animosities.
This book provides a systematic examination of the re-patterning of collective identities through violence and the role of power politics in such critical transitions. The authors show how identity is created through shared social practices and how it is transformed when collective violence disrupts common practices. Three case studies show how this model sheds new light on the dynamics of religious violence in parts of India, on ethnic violence in the former Yugoslavia, as well as on anti-war protest in the UK in reaction to the military invasion of Iraq. The book explores an alternative way of looking at conflict, and dissects the policies and processes that bring specific identities to the fore, taking seriously the capacity to resist and face abusive authority. Identity, Violence and Power will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, social psychology, history, political science and conflict studies.