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   Course Title    Historical Heritage as a Determining Factor of Democratic Transition in Serbia
Lecturer    Olga Popovic-Obradovic
Institution    University of Belgrade
Country    Yugoslavia

The course is a part of a program entitled "Challenges of modern theory and practice of democracy", developed within the educational program of the Center for Advanced Legal Studies under the auspices of the Alternative Academic Educational Network for the summer semester 1999/2000.

The main goal of the course is to interpret the post-communist experience in Serbia as a historical manifestation of a long lasting phenomenon, and to use this interpretation as a starting point to challenge another interpretative scheme which views the failure of democratic transition primarily, if not exclusively, as a heritage of the communist era. The latter is dominant both in the professional and in the broader, political public opinion in Serbia. Moreover, it became a constitutive factor of the historical consciousness of an average individual and it greatly determines, or more precisely limits, the individual's social and political behavior, inciting intolerance and irresponsibility. The students will be faced with the initial question: how can we explain the fact that Serbia, in contrast to other European countries of the communist world, failed to determine an internal transformation in accordance with the standards of modern society as its primary goal after the breakdown of the ancient regime, but instead, almost by plebiscite, decided to adhere to an archaic political project which by its main goals - enlargement of state territory, firm borders and ethnic homogenization within them - presupposed a war. This questions is aimed at encouraging the students, who are, within the program "Challenges of modern theory and practice of democracy", essentially directed towards a theoretical and normative approach, to rethink calmly and without prejudice the primary roots for the collapse of democratic institutions, which in Serbia, as in other former communist countries, marked the beginning of the transition era at the end of the eighties.

Through a series of lectures by competent scholars and researchers in historiography, political and social science, the discussion will be focused on the problem of political culture, as one of those phenomena that are long lasting in the life of a society, and as such, determine its historical identity. Its basic elements will be discussed in a historical perspective, with and emphasis on their relation with the phenomenon of ethnic nationalism and the tendency to wage wars. Students will be encouraged to get acquainted with original historical documentation to the largest possible extent.

The course is planed for an thirteen week period. Each week one session lasting two periods (one hour and a half) will take place. The sessions will be either in the form of a lecture or a seminar and they will be dedicated to one of the course themes. (Some of the themes will take two weeks.) Each lecture session will have up to half an hour of time assigned to discussion. The students will be asked to read beforehand the required literature/sources selected by the lecturers and to prepare their thesis for discussion. Every student will have to write a 15 to 20 pages long paper at the end of the course and to present this paper in public to be judged by a committee of scholars. A student will be able to choose freely among the proposed topics and will have a tutor assigned accordingly. The specific field and the title of the paper will be determined in cooperation with the tutor. The writing of the paper presupposes the use of sources. Only in case of an exceptionally original approach, papers based exclusively on literature will be accepted.

Weekly schedule

  1. Introductory lecture: The problem of rational articulation of national interest in the Balkans (Olga Popovic-Obradovic, Law Faculty, Belgrade) + course presentation, topics, approaches and methods (preferably in the presence of all lecturers)

    The Balkan peoples, especially from the beginning of the 20th century, remain closed in a diabolical circle with recurrent self-destructive periods, which shatter and endanger both Europe and the rest of the world. The main reasons for this are unfinished processes of national integration, on one side, and a strong opposition to modernization, on the other, resulting in and understanding of the national interest not primarily as a question of internal development, but rather as a question of national unity, which is, in its turn, identified with state borders. Serbian experience at the end of the 20th century is one of the most tragic testimonies of this fact.

  2. Main Questions of the New Era Comparative Serbian-Croatian History (Drago Roksandic, Faculty of Philosophy, Zagreb and CEU, Budapest)

    In the development of modern Serbian and Croatian historiography until most recent times there was never a comprehensive interest in the application of comparative methods either in the research of open questions of their "internal" development or in the research of the attitude towards "others", especially in Serbo-Croatian or Croat-Serbian relations. One of the reasons is the relatively late development of interest for approaches and methods that enable comparative thinking in the first place, but not less in a polycentric and above all social and culturally diverse development of the new era Serbian and Croatian historiography. The goal of this lecture is to open the fundamental questions of Serbo-Croatian historical comparative science, approach and methods as well as of the possibilities for future cooperation.

  3. - 4. The Problem of Democratic Transition in the Balkans; Neo-Patriarchy and the Balkan 'ersatz' civil societies (Ivan Ivekovic, American University of Cairo), I

    Detail lecture content not yet available

  4. Collectivism and egalitarianism as an obstacle to modernization (Latinka Perovic, Institute for Modern History of Serbia, Belgrade.

    The family community (Zadruga) and the village municipality (Opstina), the main economic institutions of Serbian people under the Turks, based on collective land property, are falling apart during the 19th century. Serbia, however, remains an agrarian country with small properties dominating, which contributes to the establishment of equality within poverty. On the principles of family community and village municipality an ideology of non-capitalistic development is formed, with its consequences: social stratification and the establishment of a wealthier class is impeded; liberal democracy is considered to be an utopia; unlimited rule of the majority is preferred to rule of law. Thus the basic principles of family community and village municipality, collectivism and egalitarianism prove to be longer living than the institutions themselves. After the gaining of state independence in Serbia in 1878, this ideology obtains a powerful organized political expression. Social collectivism is an important means in the struggle for national collectivism. At the beginning of the 20th century Serbia enter into wars (1912, 1913,1914). Social revolution, which was the goal of the aforementioned ideology, augments into a national revolution.

  5. Collectivism and egalitarianism as an obstacle to modernization (Branka Prpa, Institute for Modern History of Serbia, Belgrade)

    The price to be paid for a modernization step forward from the stagnating agrarian-rural society determined substantially all the actors of the political and social life in Yugoslavia between the wars. It turned out that few among them were prepared to sacrifice the peasantry as the dominant social element of the society. Politicians, because that was the only way they could "buy" social peace and votes, and intellectuals because they attached their own identity to the village and because, within the framework of accepted ideas of social justice, they could not opt for pitiful experiences that followed the processes of industrialization of Western Europe without deep moral dilemmas. This is why opposition to modernization articulated itself both in the realm of economic and of family and cultural values. The result was also a widespread anti-European attitude, supported by the new ideologists of Serbian Orthodox Church (Justin Popovic, Nikolaj Velimirovic).

  6. Patriarchy as the principle of social organization: Serbian Civil Code 1844-1946 (Olga Popovic-Obradovic, Law Faculty, Belgrade)

    Adoption of the Serbian Civil Code represents one of the strongest modernization endeavors of the Serbian state during the entire period of its existence. It proclaimed the inviolability of private property and the freedom of contracting, thus creating a legal framework a capitalistic development of the young Serbian state. However, it made a substantial tribute to the traditional patriarchal legal consciousness and customs: it maintained the collective property of the family community and preserved a total and all-encompassing legal subordination of women to men. In spite of strong critical opinions by domestic scientific public and an ever-growing discord with standards of modern society, this segment of the code remained unaltered all the way it remained in power, that is, until 1946. It witnessed not only the rigidity of the patriarchal concept of Serbian society but even more the conservatism of political elite, which rejected all initiatives for a change in the Serbian Civil Code paragraphs pertaining to the family cooperative and the legal position of women. because the Serbian political elite.

  7. The role of myth in contemporary Serbian political culture and the problem of historical education (Olga Popovic-Obradovic, Law faculty, Belgrade and Dubravka Stojanovic, Faculty of Philosophy, Department of History, Belgrade), seminar.

    A blurred concept of one's own past produces a blurred concept of one's own present, which becomes a serious obstacle to rational political behavior. Recent history of Balkan peoples offers an abundance of testimonies of this fact, an its ten year old post-communist experience, without precedent by its abuse of "history", shows how high the price for political projects founded on misconceptions and myths about one's own past can be. It will be demonstrated how history is being interpreted in textbooks, which methods are used for creating the desired historical and national consciousness in Serbia. Especially, historical myths that are being formulated implicitly or explicitly in textbooks will be pointed out.

  8. - 10. Political culture in the "golden age of Serbian democracy" (1903-1914): Stenographic records of Serbian national assembly (Olga Popovic-Obradovic, Law faculty, Belgrade), lecture + seminar

    In a period marked by the rule of the parliamentary system on one hand and by an extremely ambitious national policy followed by a permanent state of war or preparation for war on the other, the analysis of speeches of parliamentary representatives presents an extremely reliable method for analyzing the substance of concepts which political elite in the Kingdom of Serbia, during the final decade of the kingdom's existence, had about institutions of modern society and state as well as about strategic dilemas of Serbian state, both in interior and foreign politics. Problems that will be especially taken into consideration are: understanding of democracy, position of minorities, and tolerance in general, conflict between a monistic political consciousness and the principle of political pluralism - between patriarchal and modern understanding of politics and state, attitude towards the West, relationship between the program of all-national unification and issues of internal development.

  9. Social movements and social changes in former and present Yugoslavia (Nebojsa Popov, Institute for Philosophy and Social History, Belgrade)

    Crisis of the "first" Yugoslavia; civil and liberation war; establishment and reproduction of party state; crisis and destruction of the "second" Yugoslavia. Peasant opposition and revolts against collectivization; worker strikes and the announcement of a worker movement; student movements (1963-1974) in the scope of global movements of critical intellectuals. The emergence and the speed up of nationalism and national movements (Kosovo, 1968, Croatia, 1968-1972); from "national statehood" to "sovereign national states"; Serbian populism; student and civil protests and movements (1992, 1996-1997).

  10. Legal and political anatomy of the dissolution of the SFR Yugoslavia (Jovica Trkulja, Law Faculty, Belgrade)

    The first and the second Yugoslavia were created and relied on four "static pillars": 1) economical and social modernization, 2) modern state and political community, 3) ethnical, confessional and cultural pluralism, and 4) support of external powers. These four pillars of the Yugoslav state turned out to be controversies which were unsuccessfully being resolved by the Yugoslav formula 1918-1941 and 1945-1991. The first and second Yugoslavia are an example of a typically traditional, authoritarian society which spontaneously strives towards the so-called patrimonial community in which political power is over-determining all social processes. The influence of external powers - the so-called external factor is not only a determining factor; it also constitutionally creates presuppositions both for the creation and for the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

  11. Round table or panel discussion on the role of historical heritage in contemporary social processes in Serbia, especially in the light of the failure of democratic transition during the last ten years (coordinator: Olga Popovic-Obradovic; participants: all students and lecturers)

Unified literature list:

Almond G. and S. V., The Civic Culture; Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations, Princeton (Princeton University Press), 1963.
Antonic S. i ost., Srbija izmedju populizma i demokratije, Beograd 1993.
Cvijic J., Balkansko poluostrvo, Sabrana dela, Beograd 1987.
Dimic Lj., Kulturna politika u Kraljevini Jugoslaviji 1918-1941, I-III, Beograd 1996.
Djuric I., Istorija - pribeziste ili putokaz, Kragujevac 1999.
Djuric M., Pred slovenskim vidicima, Prilozi folosofiji slovenske kulture, Beograd 1928.
Djordjevic D., Srbija i srpsko drustvo 1880-tih godina, "Istorijski casopis", Beograd 1982-1983, knj.XXIX-XXX.
Djordjevic D., Ogledi iz novije balkanske istorije, Beograd 1989.
Djordjevic T., Srbija pre 100 godina, Beograd 1946.
Golubovic Z., Drustveni karakter i drustvene promene u svetlu nacionalnih sukoba, Beograd 1995.
Haggard S. and Kaufman R.R., The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions, Princeton University Press, 1995.
Ingelhart R., 'The Renaissance of Political Culture', "American Political Science Review", 82/1988, pp.1203-1230.
Ivekovic I., Neopatrijarhat i politicko nasilje, "Republika", br.174/16-31,10, 1997.
Karic V., Srbija, opis zemlje, naroda i drzave, Beograd 1887.
Kuzmanovic B.-Pavlovic D. (ur.), Studentski protest 1992, Beograd 1993.
Linc H., Stepan A., Demokratska tranzicija i konsolidacija, Juzna Amerika, Juzna Amerika i postkomunisticka Evropa, Beograd 1998.
Lipset S.M., Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy, "American Political Science Review". 53/1959, p.69-105
Midlih H.M., Patrijalhalni mentalitet kao smetnja drzavne i drustvene modernizacije u Srbiji XIX veka, "Istorijski casopis", Beograd 1991, XXXVIII.
Mijatovic B., Osnovni pogledi naprednjaka i radikala tokom 80-tih godina XIX veka, "Srpska politicka misao", br. 1-4/1996.
Milicevic M.Dj., Knezevina Srbija, 1-2, Beograd 1878-1884.
Milicevic M.Dj., Zivot Srba seljaka, Beograd 1887.
Milic A.-Cickovic Lj.(ur.), Generacije u protestu, (ISI FF), Beograd 1998;
Mirkovic M., Medjunarodni ekonomski polozaj evropskog seljackog jugoistoka, "Socijalni Arhiv", Beograd 1939.
Mirkovic M., Socijalna i ekonomska uslovljenost nase ekonomske politike i narocito trgovinske politike, "Nesluzbeni deo Socijalnog Arhiva", V/5-6 (maj-jun 1939), Beograd.
Moor B., Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, Boston (Beacon Press)1967.
Nikola Pasic u Narodnoj skupstini, (priredili Latinka Perovic, Dubravka Stojanovic i Djordje Stankovic),I-IV, Beograd 1997.
O'Donnell G. and Schmitter P., Transitions From Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions About Uncertain Democracies, Baltimor (Johns Hopkins University Press).
Oil on Fire? Textbooks, Ethnic Stereotypes and Violence in South-Eastern Europe, ed. W. Hopken, Hanover 1996.
Parsons T., Moderna drustva, Beograd 1992.
Pasic N., Moja politicka ispovest, Beograd 1989.
Pera Todorovic, Ogledalo: Zrake iz proslosti (priredila L. Perovic), Beograd 1997.
Pera Todorovi,c Dnevnik (priredila L.Perovic) , Beograd 1990
Perovic L., Srpski socijalisti 19. veka, 1-3, Beograd 1985, 1995.
Perovic L., Politicka elita i modernizacija u prvoj deceniji nezavisnosti srpske drzave, "Srbija u modernizacijskim procesima XX veka", Beograd 1994, str. 225-245.
Popov N., Drustveni pokreti - izazov sociologiji, (CFDT), Beograd 1983.
Popov N., Kriza medjuratnog jugoslovenskog drustva,(CFDT), Beograd 1989.
Popov N., Jugoslavija pod naponom promena, Beograd 1990.
Popov N., Srpski populizam, ("Vreme"), Beograd 1993.
Popovic M., Vidovdan, casni krst, (biblioteka XX vek), Beograd 1998.
Popovic-Obradovic O., Parlamentarizam u Srbiji 1903-1914 godine", (izd. "Sluzbeni list SRJ"), Beograd 1988.
Popovic-Obradovic O., Osnovne prepreke politickoj modernizaciji Srbije posle 1903. godine, "Tokovi istorije", 1-2/1994, str. .49-52.
Popovic-Obradovic O., O ideoloskom profilu radikala u Srbiji 1903-1914. godine, "Tokovi istorije", 1-2/1994, str. 59-76.
Popovic-Obradovic O., Demokratija u Srbiji 1903-1914, "O demokratiji", Izdavacka zadruga "Politika i drustvo", Beograd 1995, str. 171-186.
Popovic-Obradovic O., Srbija pred izborom: Kakva ili kolika drzava, "Republika", 73/74, 1993, s.13.
Promene postsocijalistickih drustava iz socioloske perspektive, Zbornik Instituta drustvenih nauka, Beograd, 1997.
Raspad Jugoslavije, "Filozofija i drustvo", Institut za filozofiju i drustvenu teoriju, Beograd 1994.
Raspad Jugoslavije - produzetak ili kraj agonije, Institut za evropske studije, Beograd 1991.
Ratnistvo, patriotizam, patrijarhalnost (urednici V. Pesic, R.Rosandic, Beograd 1994.
Roksandic D., Vojna Hrvatska: La Croatie Militaire. Krajisko drustvo u Francuskom Carstvu (1809-1813), I-II, Zagreb 1988.
Skerlic J., Omladina i njena knjizevnost, (SKA), Beograd 1906.
Srbija u modernizacijskim procesima, 1-2, (zbornik radova), Beograd 1994, 1998.
Stojanovic D., Udzbenici istorije kao ogledalo vremena, "Ratnistvo, patriotizam, patrijarhalnost", Beograd 1994, str. 77-102.
Stojanovic T., Balkanska civilizacija, Beogarad 1995.
Stokes G., Politics as Development. The Emergence of Political Parties in Nineteenth Century Serbia, Durkam and London 1990.
Tadic J., Mi i zapad, "Nova Evropa", Zagreb 1925, knj. XII, br. 10.
Todorova M., Imaginarni Balkan, Beograd 1999.
Trkulja J., Osvajanje demokratije - ogled o postkomunizmu, Beograd 1993 (II izdanje 1996).
Turen A., Sociologija drustvenih pokreta, ("Radnicka stampa"), Beograd 1983.
Vasovic V., ur., Fragmenti politicke kulture, Beograd 1998.
Walicki A., A History of Russian Thought: From the Enlightenment to Marxism, Oxford 1980.


Required literature will be determined by each lecturer

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