Homeland War And War Victims In The 20th Century: Ethnological Aspects

Principal researcher: Reana Senjković
Researchers and associates: Naila Ceribašić, Jasna Čapo Žmegač, Božidar Dragišić, Ljubica Gligorević, Jadranka Grbić, Wolfgang Hoepken, Renata Jambrešić Kirin, Jadran Kale, Koraljka Kuzman, Aleksandra Muraj, Lidija Nikočević, Mojca Piškor, Maja Povrzanović Frykman, Ines Prica, Lela Roćenović, Slavica Stojan, Zorica Vitez, Branka Vojnović Traživuk.

The planned project gathers ethnologists, folklorists and ethnnomusicologists from Zagreb, Sibenik, Vinkovci, Split and Pazin. The objective is to collect, file, analyse and interpret narrative discourses of displaced persons, soldiers and other Croatian citizens, which refer to the Homeland War or are related to it as testimonial discourse. This discourse is marked by a transgenerational conveyance of traumatic experience which have remained unrepresented and unrepresentable within the existing ideological, cultural and cognitive frameworks. Ethnographic interest in war-time everyday life is placed at the meeting points of political, ideological and social spheres. It critically analyses culture as a cluster of codes and artefacts, always subject to different classifications. An initial assumption is that war is the marking point in the life of both the individual and the community, which is inscribed in the biographies of people and society, generating the feeling of solidarity and, based on that feeling, a feeling of common identity. War experiences analyse and revalorize individual and collective memories, which will, themselves, become objects of future analyses and revalorizations. National war and post-war history would be incomplete without ethnographically recorded narrations of its weak witnesses, as well as without ethnological and folklorist interpretations of verbal discourses, individual memory, autobiographic records or analyses of ideas and assessments developed under the influence of messages conveyed by the mass media. This is why oral narration will be analysed in terms of its correlation with printed testimonies, autobiographies and memoires, and the documents produced by mass media with the purpose of disclosing neglected levels of the discourse on the war. Testimonies conveyed by the media in the context of war are significant sources of narrative formation of collective identities, symbols and values. Following R. J. Grele’s theoretical attempt towards the symptomatic reading, relations between identity formations (personal and collective, permitted and suggested) will be studied in this project, in the context of media-determined structures of social experience and collective memory in the second half of the 20th century.

Expected outcomes: collection of papers (Telling about the War); books (Testimonies between Truth and JusticeEthnography of the MediaWar-Time Everyday LifeCroats in Srijem); exhibition, articles, studies, lectures and documents.