The Tragedy of Yugoslavia: The Failure of Democratic Transformation

By Jim Seroka; Vukasin Pavlovic | Go to book overview

2.

The Structure and Dynamics of
the Yugoslav Political Environment
and Elections in Croatia

Mirjana Kasapovic


The Political Environment of Yugoslavia in the 1980s

The Yugoslav political environment of the 1980s can best be described through an analysis of two structural spheres of political behavior and three dynamic levels of collective political action. Separation of the structural and dynamic characteristics of the political situation is motivated by a belief that the collective behavior of political actors is heavily influenced by political structures and that political structures are altered by collective behavior. In fact, the mixture of the old and new structural and dynamic factors has created fundamentally "new situations" which in turn have altered the structures and dynamics of political action in Yugoslavia today. In this chapter I will define and explain the dynamics and structures which have emerged out of the "new situations." In short, I will attempt to describe and explain the new political environments that have emerged in contemporary Yugoslavia.

During the decade of the eighties, but especially after 1985 1 and until 1990, 2 the Yugoslav political environment was characterized by three types of collective action and two fields of political activity. Collective political behavior occurred primarily within the institutions of the state, the burgeoning mass-based national movements, and popular initiatives for the enhancement of human rights. These activities occurred on two levels, one involving formal and institutionalized politics, the other, in the informal, non‐ institutionalized sphere.

Although the state-sanctioned institutions operated primarily on the formal and institutionalized levels, their actions (or inactions)

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