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Student movements in Kosova (1981): academic or nationalist?

  • Atdhe Hetemi (a1)

Abstract

The 1980s caught Albanians in Kosova in interesting social, political, and psychological circumstances. Two diametrically opposed dogmatic dilemmas took shape: “illegal groups” – considerably supported by students – demanded the proclamation of the Republic of Kosova and/or Kosova's unification with Albania. On the other side of the spectrum, “modernists” – gathering, among others, the political and academic elites – pushed for the improvement of rights of Kosovars guaranteed under the “brotherhood and unity” concept advocated within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). This paper outlines the nature of demonstrations that took place in March and April 1981 and the corresponding responses of political and academic elites. Stretching beyond symbolic academic reasons – demands for better food and dormitory conditions – the study points to the intense commitment of the students to their demands, often articulated in nationalistic terms. Was it inevitable that the structure of the SFRY would lead to those living in Kosova as a non-Slavic majority in a federation of “Southern Slavs” to articulate demands for national self-rule? It is necessary to highlight these political and social complexities through analytical approaches in order to track the students' goals and to reexamine assumptions behind the “modernist” agenda. In that vein, the paper analyzes the conceptual connections and differences between student reactions and modernists' positions during the historical period under discussion here.

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Student movements in Kosova (1981): academic or nationalist?

  • Atdhe Hetemi (a1)

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