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Denying the unknown. Everyday narratives about Croatian involvement in the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict

Sokolić, Ivor (2017) Denying the unknown. Everyday narratives about Croatian involvement in the 1992-1995 Bosnian conflict. Südosteuropa, 65 (4). pp. 632-653. ISSN 0722-480X

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Identification Number: 10.1515/soeu-2017-0042


This article, based on the results of focus-group discussions, dyads, and interviews in Croatia, examines how Croatians construct their narrative of the 1992-1995 conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia’s role in it. Despite judgements at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) concluding that the Croatian state intervened in the Bosnian conflict, respondents in this study claimed to be ignorant of any such intervention. What was discussed worked in concert with the dominant Croatian war narrative of Croatian defence, victimhood, and sacrifice in the face of a larger, Serbian aggressor. By portraying the Bosnian conflict as chaotic and savage, respondents differentiated it from the Croatian one and relativised any illicit actions within a framework of nesting orientalism. Croatian involvement in Bosnia-Herzegovina was generally seen as positive: it was viewed in terms of Croatia welcoming Bosniak refugees and providing military assistance, which enabled moral licensing with regard to the rarely mentioned and marginalised negative aspects of Croatia’s involvement in the conflict.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > Government
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2018 14:51
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2018 16:12

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