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Title: Why do they call it Ras̆ka when they mean Sandz̆ak? : on the synchrony and diachrony of identities in southwest Serbia
Author: Ranitovic, Ana
ISNI:       0000 0004 7234 1103
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis investigates the diverse ways in which social agents construct the relationship between past, present and future through a study of historical consciousness and its role in the negotiation of identity and shifting power relations in the border region of Southwest Serbia. The focus of the research falls on ethnic relations between Serbs and Bosniaks, who predominantly inhabit the area, and the boundaries that they imagine surround the world they live in. The goal has been to trace the life of these ethnic boundaries, and with it the relationships between those who imagine them by following their transformations in history, as well as to inquire into elements of social patterns that may be discernable within a contextualized and historicized analysis of the region. In order to achieve this, I have analysed the diverse pasts and futures that coalesce in the many 'time spaces' that Southwest Serbia's social actors inhabit in any present moment and from which they (re)construct these boundaries and their identities. The research has been situated within the wider anthropological discussion about the relation of culture (memory) and history and draws on insights made by relevant studies and ethnographies conducted on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. The data presented demonstrates that ethnicity and nationality are not fully crystalized as concepts in Southwest Serbia, their contents are imagined in inconsistent ways in and between social groups, while ethno-national identities and histories are not on the whole felt to be crucial to one's personal sense of self, but are perceived and put to use as malleable political resources. As a result, the most dominant allegiance in Southwest Serbia is to one's family, the only group whose 'essence' escapes political malleability and whose members share a common cross-temporal vision.
Supervisor: Parkin, Robert Sponsor: Sir Kendrew St John's College
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Anthropology ; Balkan studies ; Ras?ka ; Yugoslavia ; Western Balkans ; Sandz?ak ; Ethnic relations ; Identity building ; Serbia