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Violence in social memory intimate beliefs regarding operation storm in the Croatian and Serbian publics

DOI: 10.2298/fid0801043d

Keywords: storm , Croatian public , Serbian public , meaning of silence , forgetting , social memory

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Abstract:

This text is part of a research conducted under the working title "What do we talk about when we are silent and what are we silent about when we are talking? - premises for the anthropology of silence about the nearest past." In the first part the author investigates the meaning of silence in the Croatian and Serbian press right before and during Croatia's Operation Storm. The ratio between silence, suppression of information and forgetting, on the one hand, and social memory, on the other, has been elaborated in the final part of the text by following reports about the anniversaries of Operation Storm in both Croatian and Serbian publics. The starting point lies in the belief that the phenomenon of silence (and suppression of information), being an immanent part of each discourse, represents an important factor in the creation of social relationships and system of value models, that it has important communication and cognitive functions and that the performance character lies in its essence. In short, silence makes it possible to form the prevailing image about this event, even if it does not construct it indirectly - through speech. The author has elaborated on the meaning of silence in the context of Operation Storm partly because studies about the breakup of Yugoslavia frequently mention silence as a manipulation strategy employed by some of the sides in the conflict (or analysts dealing with Yugoslav topics), while not a single study systematically investigates the semantic of silence and suppression of information in these conflicts. Most importantly, taking into account the frequency of direct silence in the newspaper discourse and rhetoric strategies that point at silence indirectly from the context and discourse, the author focuses on the relationship between the event (situation) and silence. In order to shed light on the way in which Operation Storm is remembered, i.e. forgotten, in the stakeholders' publics and political imageries, she follows the dailies - Ve ernje Novosti Politika, Danas (Belgrade) - Ve ernji List, Jutarnji List, Magazin supplement of the Jutarnji List (Zagreb), as well as texts about Operation Storm in weeklies such as the NIN and Vreme of Belgrade or Globus of Zagreb in the period between August 2, 1995 and mid-August 2006.

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