Education PYPA 2008 Courses Civilizing Nationalism – Pacification of the Region


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Civilizing Nationalism – Pacification of the Region

Civilizing Nationalism – Pacification of the Region

Lecturer: Ugo Vlaisavljevic
Assistant: Faris Cengic

Course objectives:

The main objective of the course is to expose the militant nature of the ruling forms of party politics in the region, which are understood as ethnopolitics (i.e. the politics of self-aware, state-building ethniei – nations). A critique of their militant character is undertaken as “the critique of the ideology of ethnic community”. Accordingly, it demonstrates that the experience of a millennial struggle for survival of “small Balkan peoples”, particularly the very tragic experience of the last war, is also formative for the current dominant politics and for the current form of collective identity. It will be shown that all recent politics of whole-nation support were actually war politics of collective identity forged in a bloody conflict against an enemy. This is precisely what makes these politics “ethnic” ones, and what prevents them from adopting the true form of modern politics, particularly its civic character. The militancy of ethnopolitics will be deciphered in contrast to the civility of civic politics, particularly in its differences from the typical politics and sociability of civil society. We will strive to show that a necessary condition for a lasting peace in the region is transforming the dominant ethnopolitics into politics in the true meaning of the word, namely, its civilizing and demilitarization.

Educational units of the course:

The First Day: Ethnopolitics – Main Characteristics and its Recent Historical Genesis

  • Ethnopolitics in Tito’s socialism and in post-socialist ethno-nationalism
  • Who is the (political) subject of ethnopolitics
  • Pre-political and non-political characteristics of ethnopolitics

The Second Day: Collective Ethnic Identity and Collective Survival

  • Millennial collective experience of being incorporated in great empires
  • Great foreign culture and local ethnic tradition 
  • Lethal dangers of collective existence: war extermination and peacetime assimilation
  • Concept of “agonistic acculturation:” How does a sworn enemy and foreigner become internalized in an authentic cultural form, in the collective identity

The Third Day: Civic Characteristics of Politics and Ethnopolitical Subversion of The Political Citizens’ Community and Ethnic Community

  • Transcendental character of citizenship and modern society
  • Alienated citizens and fraternized members of ethnie
  • Danger of modernization for sociability of an ethnic community
  • Citizen’s morals and traditional common morals

The Fourth Day: Militancy of “Politics” in the Real Socialism and Current Ethnopolitics

  • The most important political issue has always been the issue of collective survival
  • War of National Liberation as the basic content of politics
  • Modern age as the age of national uprisings and national liberation
  • Sacrificing of individual freedom for national freedom
  • Politics of permanent mobilization and state of emergency
  • Sovereignty of leaders in a state of permanent mobilization

The Fifth Day: War as the Ultimate Meaning of Politics and the Greatest Cultural Event

  • Implications of continuously invoking the previous war in public communication of politicians
  • Holiness of war victims as a source of legitimacy of ongoing politics
  • Modern legitimacy and sacrosanct character of local patriotic politics
  • Detent as a source of illegitimacy of Real Socialism
  • The role of heroes and war veterans in ongoing state politics

The Sixth Day: Civility of Civil Society and Militancy of Ethnopolitics

  • Formative difference of private/public for politics
  • Ethnopolitics as the politics of private publics and public privacy
  • Citizens’ morals as an empty form of civilized behaving towards the Other
  • The Other as the enemy or friend
  • Paranoid character of ethnic being-together
  • Militancy of the prevailing politics and non-comprehensible character of civil society
  • Misuse of civil society: recent attempts of its militarization

The seventh day: Process of Civilizing Local Ethno-nationalism

  • National and civic parties in BiH
  • Nationalism as militancy of “leftist” political options
  • Missed modernization of politics: unknown liberalism and deliberative democracy
  • Civilizing “wild nationalism” and outlook for pacification of politics
  • Pacification of militant political parties as a precondition for peace in the region.


  1. Norberto Bobio, Liberalizam i demokratija, Zavod za udžbenike i nastavna sredstva, Beograd, 1995, VIII, IX i XI poglavlje
  2. Georges Devereux, Komplementaristicka etno-psihoanaliza, August Cesarec, Zagreb, 1990, VIII poglavlje
  3. Dominique Schnapper, Zajednica gradjana, Izdavacka knjižarnica Zorana Stojanovica, Novi Sad, 1996, II, III i IV poglavlje
  4. Jael Tamir, Liberalni nacionalizam, Filip Višnjic, Beograd, 2002, II i VII poglavlje
  5. Charles Taylor, Prizivanje gra?anskog društva, Circulus, Beograd, 2000, III i VII poglavlje
  6. Ugo Vlaisavljevic, Rat kao najveci kulturni dogadjaj, Mauna-Fe, Sarajevo, 2007, VI i IX poglavlje