Title "Balkan Idols: Religion and Nationalism in Yugoslav States"
Author Perica, Vjekoslav
Publisher New York: Oxford University Press
Annotation This book mainly talks about church-state relationship and politics and ideologies of the institutionalized Yugoslav churches and therefore it belongs to the same pool of studies as the ones by Buchenau, Ramet and Radić. The author attempted to bridge the Interwar period, Socialist Yugoslavia and the conflict of the 1990s. The problem with his enterprise is that the introductory chapter on the pre-1945 developments is rather superficial and does not problematize sufficiently the role religion played in the Yugoslav politics. The following chapters though do provide detailed in-depth analysis of the subject and indeed Perica makes good use of the relevant archival materials. What makes this study interesting is chapter six “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” (89-108) on the ideology of “brotherhood and unity” that according to the author functioned in socialist Yugoslavia as a civil religion. The last three chapters on the role of religion, churches, and very importantly myths that were often constructed with the support of the churches are interesting and useful to read if understood in the framework of the juxtaposition of traditional and civil religions and their connection to nationalism. The best way to use this monograph is perhaps to read the middle part on the socialist regime and the conflict years, while introductory chapters and conclusion should be taken critically; e.g. his concept of ethnoclericalism is a very controversial one.
Author of Annotation Maria Falina
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