Chapter

What is the nation? Towards a teleological model of nationalism

David Bruce Macdonald

in Balkan Holocausts?

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780719064661
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700198 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719064661.003.0002
What is the nation? Towards a teleological model of nationalism

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This chapter introduces a useful analytical model to help understand the nature of Serbian and Croatian myths, the types of imagery they invoke, and how they are structured. This will lay the groundwork for a more detailed study of how national myths have been used instrumentally in Serbia and Croatia to promote self-determination, the shifting of borders and populations, and the installation of despotic and corrupt regimes. For the ancient Hebrew nation, a cyclical form of teleology, composed of a Golden Age, a Fall, and a Redemption, constituted what Northrop Frye and others have termed a ‘covenantal cycle’. Covenants imply faith in an omnipresent, omnipotent god, able to guide the nation in times of distress and hardship. Ideas of Covenant, chosenness, Golden Age, Fall, and Redemption have formed the core of several modern nationalisms. Another important aspect of cyclical teleology has been the constant battle between good and evil throughout history — the ‘chosen’ nation versus its many enemies. The links between such mythology and Serbian and Croatian nationalism will become obvious.

Keywords: Serbia; Croatia; myths; teleology; Golden Age; Fall; nationalism; Redemption; Northrop Frye; covenants

Chapter.  10792 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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