The Road to War in Serbia: Trauma and Catharsis

By Nebojša Popov | Go to book overview

The Nation: Victim and Vengeance

ZORAN M. MARKOVIĆ

This chapter reviews the attitude of some of the less serious Serbian magazines on the topic ‘Serbia as victim’, from September 1987 to September 1991. Although magazines do not essentially differ from the rest of the printed media they have some distinguishing characteristics. Apart from differences of style, the breadth of content makes them different from the news and political press. Their aim is to inform and entertain, to popularize, shock and incite to action, something they achieve through writing on a wide range of issues in a style acceptable to a wide circle of readers.

In this discussion three magazines have been taken as representative: Duga, Ilustrovana Politika and TV Novosti1. These are published by three different publishers: BIGZ, Politika and Borba. They are read by a wide range of social classes: Duga mostly by the upper and middle classes, Ilustrovana Politika by the middle class and TV Novosti by the middle and lower classes. The style of journalism also differs, Duga going in for ‘historical journalism’, Ilustrovana Politikatending towards a more literary style, while TV Novosti aims to entertain the masses.

In striving to please their consumers, magazines produce their own concept of reality and their own value system; they also tend to ideologize their subject matter. These tendencies are immanent but not completely autonomous. They are, to a major extent, the reflection of prevailing values, which is why any analysis of the press is also an analysis of society.

The period from 1987 to 1991 was of enormous importance for Yugoslav society. It was a time when nationalism came to dominate all spheres of life. Within this process, a key indicator is the body of writing on Serbs as victims. Insistence on looming danger, exploitation and the suffering and hardship of the nation is always aimed at mobilizing it and making it homogeneous, the overall goal being that the political elite ‘riding the wave’ should take over. It is

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