CHAPTER THREE: COMPARATIVE NATIONALISMS
1. FROM STATE-BUILDING TO STATE-BREAKING [continued]
I could continue to elaborate on what I think is wrong with Johnstone's conception of "national consciousness," or I could just let her demonstrate.
"The current caricature of archaic Serbs obsessed with the 1389 Battle of Kosovo has served to obscure the importance of a less distant past. Two historical factors had a major impact on Serb national consciousness. The first was the long struggle to liberate their people from centuries of subjugation and build a viable state. The second was the brutal destruction of the Yugoslav state by the Nazi invasion of 1941 and the massacres that followed."
It is quite remarkable how Johnstone breezily dismisses the entire Serb nationalist fixation with Kosovo as a figment of Western imagination in one brief sentence. This is chutzpah of the highest degree.
Other than that, she is now beginning her story of how the Serbs' historical consciousness was forged. While I alluded to the complex and nuanced ways by which a national consciousness is formed and--more importantly--maintained and communicated across space and especially time, rather than continuing to belabor this point I am simply going to examine her understanding of what she considers the Serbian national consciousness. I am confident that the shortcomings and oversimplifications of her approach will become apparent.
Starting tomorrow, I will begin to review the two pages of section one which follows the above-quoted passage. Hopefully, the serious shortcomings in Johnstone's analysis will become evident.