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Thirty years after the break-up of Yugoslavia

  • Kirn, Gal
Publication Date
Apr 20, 2022
University of Ljubljana
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The contribution sheds a critical light on the thirty years since the break-up of socialist Yugoslavia. It presents three hypotheses for a critical reorientation of the 1989–91 sequence. Firstly, rather than seeing 1989 as the start of the longue durée of a democratic process, for Yugoslavia this trajectory was ‘realised’ as political chaos and ethnic wars in 1991. Secondly, criticising the chronological view of ‘post-socialism’, it posits post-socialism as having already emerged after 1965, marked by market reforms that ‘withered away’ socialism. Thirdly, and specific to the 1990s, in order to facilitate the transition to capitalism, a ‘primitive accumulation’ of memory and a high degree of violence unfolded, which actually dis-accumulated the socialist infrastructure and socialised means of (re)production. The post-Yugoslav transition proved a genuine ‘contribution’ to ‘making our country great again’: ethnically cleansed nation-states on the horizon of European peripheral capitalism. The contribution concludes on an affirmative note, pointing to the slow resurgence of the Left.

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