Neighbors at War

Anthropological Perspectives on Yugoslav Ethnicity, Culture, and History

Edited by Joel M. Halpern, David A. Kideckel

Paperback - £33.95

Publication date:

15 August 2000

Length of book:

488 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271019796

Before the former Yugoslavia was divided by wars, its inhabitants successfully lived side by side in peace. This collection seeks to explain how former neighbors became enemies, with the hope that understanding what drove these peoples apart will help us discover ways for them to coexist in peace again.

Contributors analyze political cartoons, psychiatry, the arts, visual media, and law to present a diversity of views on the conflicts in Yugoslavia. While the chapters in this book deal with regional developments, they are not so much focused on politics as they are concerned with how values and attitudes are altered and new identities formed. Thus, this volume goes beyond recent journalistic accounts and should remain relevant for years to come.

This book began as a special issue of the journal Anthropology of East Europe Review. Most of the contributors to that issue have revised their chapters for this collection, and new chapters have been added, including one on the recent war in Kosovo. Essays range across all of former Yugoslavia, emphasizing the variability and diversity of ethnic relations throughout its history.

Contributors are Mart Bax, Brian C. Bennett, Nikolai Botev, Bette Denich, Elinor Despalatovič, Hannes Grandits, Joel M. Halpern, E. A. Hammel, Robert M. Hayden, Goran Jovanović, Éva V. Huseby-Darvas, David A. Kideckel, Mirjana Lausevic, Lynn D. Maners, Julie Mertus, Robert Gary Minnich, Rajko Muršič, Edit Petrović, Christian Promitzer, Mirjana Prošić-Dvornić, Janet Reineck, Jonathan Matthew Schwartz, Andrei Simić, and Stevan M. Weine.

“The essays in Neighbors at War contain an important combination of social history and on-the-ground local investigation. By deconstructing the popular phrase ‘age-old ethnic hatreds,’ the book successfully challenges the concept as a cause of the war and, instead, analyzes it as an ideological tool in the war.”

—Carol Silverman, University of Oregon