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Who are we and where are we Going: from Past Myths to Present Politics


Social groups, and the social identities which people develop as part of them, are often experienced as stable and continuous over time. Thus, countries experiencing rapid socio-political change often face the challenge of re-constructing the meaning of the social group to adapt to the demands of the present, while simultaneously making this re-construction appear as a natural progression of ‘our’ historical journey. In the present paper, I ask the question of how, in times of socio-political change, the past is used in the present, and the implications this has for how individuals represent their nation’s future. Drawing on Serbia and its political movement towards EU integration, the present article illustrates how developed and legitimized historical narratives, linked to the myth of origin of a nation, become utilized to frame present challenges. In doing so, it allows for uncertainties in the present to become anchored in established historical narratives, which in turn have consequences for which political actions are deemed acceptable and legitimate for the future.

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Correspondence to Sandra Obradović.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Obradović, S. Who are we and where are we Going: from Past Myths to Present Politics. Integr. psych. behav. 53, 57–75 (2019).

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  • Perceived collective continuity
  • National identity
  • Historical representations
  • Myths