Music and politics in the Croatian-Canadian community

Wiens, Kathleen Ruth (2008) Music and politics in the Croatian-Canadian community. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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This thesis explores musical performance in an Ontario-based Croatian-Canadian community in the early 21st century. It assumes that since such performances both reflect social values and help to constitute them, musical activity then serves to negotiate identity. -- The 1990s saw the breakup of and subsequent armed conflict between the states of the former Yugoslavia. This time of political and violent struggle impacted Croatian diaspora communities: nationalist rhetoric of the homeland resonated with and was promulgated throughout the diaspora in Canada. Over 15 years have passed since Croatian independence, yet diaspora activities continue to invoke references to nationalist themes. Why is this so? -- Examining community musical activities raises a number of questions: Where do nationalist themes appear? What forms do they take? Why are these choices made, who makes them, and to what end? Case examples of musical performance include a 2006 folklore festival and a homeland folklore performance tour, supplemented by data from Internet discussion room postings (an important setting where alternative and dissenting viewpoints may be expressed in an anonymous fashion). -- The study finds that nationalist themes are welcome if not encouraged in certain circumstances. In cases where such themes appear, notions of "Croatianness" ("being Croatian") draw from the 1940s Independent State of Croatia and ultra-nationalist movements of the 1990s, including symbols and references pertaining to the maintenance of a perceived "enemy," selective tellings and interpretations of history and culture, and glorification of war criminals. I have found that such themes are often part of community activity as efforts to portray a homogenous or united understanding of what it means to be "Croatian" and thereby alleviate perceived threats posed by discord within the community and assimilation into mainstream Canadian society.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 8881
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 153-170).
Department(s): Music, School of
Date: 2008
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada; Croatia
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Croats--Canada; Music--Political aspects--Croatia; Music--Social aspects--Croatia; Nationalism in music

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