The “Cleansing” of Croatian Libraries in the 1990s and Beyond or How (Not) to Discard the Yugoslav Past

  • Dora Komnenović


The chapter departs from two earlier accounts on the so-called cleansing of Croatian libraries in the 1990s and further analyzes the phenomenon by focusing on the Croatian state’s positioning vis-à-vis the removal of “unsuitable” books during the process of ethnonationalization of previously shared, all-Yugoslav cultural spaces. It is argued that the authorities made “discarding” possible due to the impunity reserved for “cleansers,” by installing “suitable” cadres in important positions, and in general by fostering “exclusionism” and anti-intellectualism. Most importantly, the text poses questions about the potential of the discarded volumes 20 years later and the symbolic weight of murky discarding, as well as about the implications of its “normalization” and relegation to an unavoidable consequence of structural or sociopolitical changes.


Libraries Cleansing Discarding Croatia 1990s 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dora Komnenović
    • 1
  1. 1.Justus Liebig UniversityGiessenGermany

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