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Abstract

Croatian national identity has undergone countless transformations, struggles and wars in an attempt to preserve its sense of self. The Balkan Peninsula has endured the brutish oppression of several empires, countless conquerors, two world wars and devastating civil wars. The result of this turmoil has produced cultural, political and economic changes that have all contributed to the erosion of each nation’s sense of individual, regional and national identities. As the primary focus of this research, we use Croatia as a case study to supplement the understanding of identity generally and nationalism specifically. Grounding our work in both a historical analysis and theoretical framework of identity and nationalism, we conclude that music was used as a primary tool in a conscious effort to achieve the political and nationalistic goals separating Croatia from the larger Yugoslav Federation. We support our arguments by examining identity development as an ethnic and nationalistic influence on one’s sense of self and also by locating and considering those forces used to establish and develop the identity of a nation in crisis.

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