How Is Serb Identity Being Formed Today?
Belgrade, 13 October 2015
The Helsinki Committee organized a youth seminar
in Belgrade as part of the project “Contemporary Serbian Identity in the
21st Century”, realized with the assistance of the Foundation for an
Participants in the seminar were university students
(philosophy, law, organizational sciences, and economy) and the youth
active in the human rights field, all of them eager to learn more about
the issue of identity.
Psychologist Žarko Korać delivered the introductory
lecture on identity forming and development. Participants were
particularly interested in his views about a society’s role in identity
shaping of individuals, and social roles individuals are supposed to
play under the identities imposed on them. Sociologist Srđan Barišić
addressed revitalization of religion and the origins of the phenomenon,
emphasizing the fall of the Berlin Wall as the point in modern history
that triggered it off. Speaking of religious differences between
ex-Yugoslav nations on the one hand, and their similarities on the
other, embodied in practically common language, cultural heritage,
ethnicities and the once common state, Barišić concluded, “It is very
difficult to establish a definite ethnically-based identity in a state
still searching for and identity of its own, while threatening the
identities of ‘others.”
Historian Milan Subotić spoke about Russian identity
discourses and their influence on Serbia. “Two basic types of identity
discourses in Russia are Slavophilism and Westernization,” said Subotić.
He also discussed the so-called theory of “the advantages of
backwardness” promoting the notion about a society’s lagging behind /the
developed world/ could be beneficial to it. “If you put the locomotive
of progress in the rear of a railroad train, it will only take you back
to the glorious past, rather than leading toward development and
Under the same project, the Committee will organize
youth seminars in Niš and Novi Sad.