Memories of a time forgotten: the myth of the perennial nation
Pantelic, Bratislav (2011) Memories of a time forgotten: the myth of the perennial nation. Nations and Nationalism, 17 (2). pp. 443-464. ISSN 1354-5078
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8129.2010.00469.x
This article questions the persistent view of the Balkans as a place where ethnic and national identities were sustained over centuries of Ottoman and Habsburg rule. It concentrates on the Serbian historical narrative and challenges the picture of the Serbs as an ethnic community who gathered around their bards and priests to cherish memories of their ancient kingdom. Rather, it is argued that we can speak of two competing narratives, one ecclesiastical and the other vernacular, neither of which was even remotely national or historical, and that the Serbs, as we know them today, are not the product of centuries of cultural formation but were carved out of a Slavic mass as were the Croats, relatively recently.
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