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Narratives of Victims and Villains in Kosovo

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 November 2018

Helena Zdravković-Zonta*
Via G. Ressel 10, 34100 Trieste, Italy. Email:


This article uses ideological criticism to examine how and why victimage, identity and nationalism are produced through everyday discursive practices of Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. Wander contends that the ideological turn in criticism confronts and studies what is professed and obscure, and Greene argues that part of this criticism involves unmasking forms of domination. Examining cultural or rhetorical narratives is part of ideological criticism. The narratives in this study can be regarded as competing vernacular memories representative of Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. The participants invoke personal and collective memories with official national histories to explain contemporary victimization as a continuance of historical victimage. This use of the past can serve to legitimize their national and political claims, as well as to justify violence against the other group, since historical victimage provides a rationale for hating the other group and perpetuating a vicious cycle of violence.

Copyright © 2009 Association for the Study of Nationalities 

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