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Dealing with the past and identity in Serbia''s Sandžak

Sladjana Lazic
Centre for Peace Studies, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Tromso
Sladjana Lazic
Centre for Peace Studies, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Tromso
Open Panel

Abstract

During the last decades we have been witnessing the growth of scholarly interest in past crimes and atrocities and the ways in which contemporary societies and states deal with their heavy past. In the same time, questions related to political claims based on the experience of state inflicted injustices, their political mobilization and political consequences of it, became a core of a political and scholarly debate. Bearing in mind these two trends, this work will try to address the issue of claims on political recognition of identity as a way of rectifying past injustices. This will be done by focusing on the case of Bosniaks in Serbia''s Sandžak. During the 1990’s the state of Serbia perceived Bosniaks in Sandžak as potentially disloyal citizens who might endanger territorial integrity with secession. Based on that assumption they have been exposed to various acts of state terror. With the change of the regime in 2000 some of the mechanism of transitional justice have been applied in this case but with a very scarce results, followed by the silence of official state institution regarding the 1990''s happenings. What interests me is what kind of claims on the experience of injustice are articulated by Bosniaks? What kind of policies that stands behind the claims can we trace? Who are the carriers of those claims? And how can we relate them to identity changes and minority nation-building?