imagined communities and real victims: self-determination and ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia



In this article I view “ethnic cleansing” in terms of the structural logic advanced by Mary Douglas (1966) and manifested in the constitutions of the republics of the former Yugoslavia. These constitutions reify and objectify “culture” in ways that provide the conceptual, ideological, political, and legal justifications for processes of exclusion, from the denial of citizenship to expulsion and murder. The analysis is grounded in the texts of the constitutions read against local Yugoslav understandings of their terms, in the bureaucratic practices of granting and denying citizenship on an ethnic basis, and in the geography of the wars in the former Yugoslavia. [Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, nationalism, ethnicity, law, genocide]