Methods and Systems of Purposeful Reshaping of Ethnic Identities – Serbs in Former Yugoslavia
This paper will explore the means and ways of transforming group identity by a
repressive communist regime of former Yugoslavia under Tito in the period 1945 to
1980. It will focus on the Serbian ethnic group as one of the six groups constituting a
multi-cultural society at the time. The main motivation for the study topic relates to the
personal and professional experiences of living in the former Yugoslavia prior, during
and after the Balkan conflicts in 1990-1995. This is provided for a personal and
professional insight into the consequences of the regime’s strategy to create a supraidentity
of former Yugoslavia that was supposed to replace individual ethnic/national
identities of the ethnic groups living in the country. Recent Balkan wars are the main
result of this failed experiment of purposeful reshaping of ethnic identities by the regime.
Finally some consideration of the appropriate conflict transformation modalities will be
The broader aim of the research presented in this paper is to draw attention to the dangers
of purposeful reshaping of ethnic identity by regimes world wide aiming at superficial
conflict transformation, which when fails, brings about an even greater, violent and
damaging inter-communal clashes.