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Producing and Maintaining Minority “Groupness” through State Effects: Teaching in Croatian in Serbia

  • Andrew Hodges (a1)

This article ethnographically examines the situation surrounding the teaching of Croatian in Serbia. It analyzes the discourses and efforts of minority activists in promoting Croatian culture and language in various ways, specifically drawing on fieldwork conducted in a school where three mutually intelligible language varieties—Serbian, Croatian, and Bunjevac—were taught. Instruction in Croatian has been offered in Serbia since 2002 through a minority rights framework. However, prior to the wars of Yugoslav succession in the 1990s, those identifying as Croat were not considered a minority in [the] Socialist Yugoslavia, as it was a South Slavic federation. The number of children enrolling in Croatian minority programs in Serbia is small, and of those who attend them, a significant number do not come to identify as Croatian, a fact that many minority activists consider to be a problem. The article is organized in four parts. First, the context and various perspectives are introduced through an ethnographic vignette. Second, the research context and legal and institutional framework are introduced. Activist perspectives are then discussed, including tensions present. Finally, Michel-Rolph Trouillot’s concept of “state effects” is presented and elaborated with respect to the case study, and the various efforts of activists in trying to promote and/or maintain Croatian “groupness” are evaluated.

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Nationalities Papers
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