Forsaking all others: towards a new model of nationalism utilizing the case study of former Yugoslavia
Nedeljkovic, Julianna D. Momirov.
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Many people would like to believe that nationalism is a thing of the past, a dinosaur belonging to some bygone, uncivilized era. Such a belief is not borne out by recent history, however. Nationalism occupies the political forum with as much force as ever. Yet, in many ways, it remains a mystery to us. The purpose of this study is to explore individual motivations involved in the rise of nationalism, in addition to the role of structural factors. The linkage employed in this exploration is the psychosocial phenomenon of self-identity, including emotions and self-esteem. We demonstrate how individual, socially-constructed self-identity accounts for why some people embrace nationalism while others eschew it. The methodology employed was theoretical and historical analyses of secondary sources and indepth interviews with subjects who had some connection with former Yugoslavia, the country utilized to test the new model. Our analyses yielded the result that current conceptualizations of nationalism from an exclusively macro or micro perspective are unsatisfactory; we require a more comprehensive approach wherein the two perspectives are integrated. Such an integration necessitates a bridge: hence, our new model, which rests on the psychosocial premise, offers a more useful conceptual tool for the understanding of nationalism. We conclude that nationalism is first and foremost a matter relating to individual social self-identity which takes place within a particular context where oppositional forces emerge from structural factors and our membership in a particular group becomes paramount.