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

Marko Zajc
Slovenian Intellectuals and Yugoslavism in the 1980s. Propositions, Theses, Questions
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Zajc, Marko (2015): Slovenian Intellectuals and Yugoslavism in the 1980s. Propositions, Theses, Questions. In: Südosteuropäische Hefte 4 (1), S. 46–65.

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) “appeared” 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 reasons. 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 Slovenian 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. Secondly, 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 “processes 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 unity”, not as something genuinely Slovenian.

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