Sacralization of land in nationalist discourse of Milošević and Putin

Stream: Panel 49 - Comparative Politics: Nationalism and the Politics of National Identity 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 4.00 pm – 5.30 pm


This is a study of the segments of Milošević’s and Putin’s speeches referring to Kosovo and to Crimea respectively. The study analyses of their rhetorical devices and thematic content in an attempt to explain how these serve the purposes of mobilization and legitimization to which they were put. The speeches, it is argued here, share a topos of sacralisation of the (contested) land based on the ancestors’ holy or glorious deeds; this topos is deployed within a macro-strategy of construction of national identity. Within this topos the contested land is proclaimed to be sacred to the chosen nation and its individual members: in this way the ‘national entitlement’ to the land is asserted in a depoliticized (“sacred”) and highly personalized setting. In addition, it will be argued that despite the differences in their age, professional career and political background, Milošević and Putin, share similar views on the consequences of the disintegration of the two Communist federations, Yugoslavia and USSR, and on the hegemony-seeking policies of the US and its allies.


Aleksandar Pavkovic (Presenter), Macquarie University
Aleksandar Pavković teaches political theory and comparative politics at Macquarie University, Sydney. He is the author of The Fragmentation of Yugoslavia (Palgrave 2000) , Creating New States: Theory and Practice of Secession (with Peter Radan, Ashgate 2007), and of the Anthems and the Making of Nation States: Identity and Nationalism in the Balkans (with Kit Kelen, Tauris 2015). He also an editor of the Ashgate Research Companion on Secession (Ashgate 2011) and of Separatism and Secessionism in Europe and Asia: To Have a State of One’s Own (Routledge 2013).