From the occupation of the Sandžak of Novi Pazar by Serbian troops, precisely one hundred years ago during the First Balkan War, this territory has undergone rash changes as to the cultural-political references adopted by the elite in order to bolster the loyalty of the local Muslim population. This article questions the content and the dynamics of the discourses of the 20th century which made a complicated juxtaposition of symbols – especially by “inventing tradition” and establishing links with other world regions – become an “identity” postulated by local institutions, mainly opposing the authorities in Belgrade. The theoretical tools used through this research help underline the role of elites in “transition” times and their use of the imaginaire to re-define the criteria of “community” according to categories based on “cultural identity”, though aiming at increasing loyalty for political purposes. Since new cultural-political actors have entered this arena in the recent years, it is worthy enquiring the process of interpretation of local history from this “national” perspective, revealing at the same time it’s controversial and less fundated features. In doing this, three periods are dealt with: the interwar Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the SFRJ after 1945 and the turbulent 1990s: each of them is properly contextualised, nonetheless it is possible to find certain analogies in the“invention“ of an appareantly coherent path towards full emancipation of the “Bošnjaks”, still to be eked out. Lastly, this work describes the self-representation of newly founded cultural institutions such as the Faculty for Islamic Studies and the Turkish Cultural Centre. The main theses of the article points at the peculiar nature of the Sandžak as a transit-territory exposed to enormous exchange and mixture between human beings and their ideas where a “national movement” without an inner centre of gravity emerged. Thus, the actual “ideological” friction with Belgrade is read as an attempt to affirm the “openness” to external influence, especially with other countries historically and economically related with the Sandžak.
Guidi, Andreas (2012): „Traditionen im Transit“. Deutung der lokalen Geschichte und Kategorisierungsprozesse am Beispiel von kulturpolitischen Institutionen im serbischen Sandžak. In: Südosteuropäische Hefte 1 (2), S. 58–76.
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