„Contested identity“ of Macedonia: Identity of Difference

  • Vesna Stanković-Pejnović
Macedonia, identity, nation, minority


Macedonia is still in the process of forging its identity as an independent state; a process that is “contested” not only sub-state national identities but also the extent to which Macedonia sees itself as a subject of international relations.Without the protection of the Yugoslav federation, Macedonia found its security weakened and as a response to Bulgarian and Greek attitudes a more assertive and uncompromising view of Macedonian nationalism emerged, which would have a significant influence on Macedonian-Albanian relations in the new state. The Macedonians saw their national identity “contested” from several directions at the beginning of the 1990s, most notably from Greece and Bulgaria, and from inside the new state the Albanian opposition to Macedonian political and cultural dominance. Internal challenge to national identity is a result of the large number of cleavages between the two main ethnic communities. Because of this society has become increasingly segregated with major tensions running through the formation of new political identities and institutions across ethnic lines. External challenge to national identity between the Republic of Macedonia and its neighbors can be summarized as follows: Bulgaria is the main identity threat to the extent that identity is anchored in language; Serbs are the main identity threat to the extent that identity is anchored in religion; Albanians are the main identity threat to the extent that identity is anchored in statehood; and Greeks are the main identity threat to the extent that identity is anchored in the name of the nation, its language and state.


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