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Title: Domestic football and nationalism in the construction and destruction of socialist Yugoslavia, 1945-1995
Author: Mills, Richard Mervyn Stanley
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis explores the interaction between domestic football and national politics during both the foundation and destruction of socialist Yugoslavia. It draws upon a wide variety of source material, including: a diverse sporting press; domestic histories and sociological investigations; photographs; monuments; and visits to important locations. Initially, it contends that the game was harnessed in the construction of a multi-ethnic socialist federation, based upon the all-encompassing ideology of 'brotherhood and unity' . The resultant integrative league structure, along with its ideologically acceptable participant clubs, was nevertheless exploited as a medium for the promotion of narrow ethnic identities by some of the game's suppliers. This phenomenon, which was present from the earliest days of socialist rule, arguably became acutely explosive and provocative during the 1980s as a result of two concurrent processes: Yugoslavia's deteriorating political and social situation, and the emergence of a distinct supporting subculture which borrowed heavily from analogous foreign trends. However, not all of the supporters' groups which emerged embraced chauvinist national politics, and the presence of significant counter-trends are also explored via the rich material of supplier dedicated sections of the sporting press. As a result of the direct military involvement of suppliers in the conflicts of the 1990s, certain pre-war incidents between rival groups have been mythologised as opening battles in Yugoslavia's demise; something which is explored and at least partially deconstructed. During the federation's dissolution, the game continued to be exploited in the construction of successor states based upon exclusive nationalisms. The political malleability of football, with clubs and their supporters embracing different conceptions of national and political ideologies during various historical periods, is illustrated by the evolving commemorative practices of the organisations in question. What is in many ways a preliminary investigation concludes by exploring the wide potential for future research in this field.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available