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Missed Encounters: Engaged French Intelectuals and the Yugoslav Wars

Abstract : In her contribution, Nadège Ragaru investigates what she calls a paradox: The wars in Yugoslavia provoked a wide array of citizen initiatives, petitions, and demonstrations. Yet, their impact on French diplomacy was limited. The French government remained opposed to the idea of military intervention until the 1995 elections. The author examines three aspects of this paradox: First, the encounters between Paris and Sarajevo resulted in missed opportunities. For the French intellectuals the conflict turned into an arena where several prominent figures tested their authority, attempted to bolster their legitimacy, and introduced the divisions that structure their competing intellectual fields. Second, while “local voices” were solicited by the media and inaugurated “the era of the witness” (Wieviorka), their selective use tended to obscure the conflict. Finally, the wars represented a critical moment for academics with a Yugoslav background. Many had not worked on Yugoslav issues before and witnessed powerlessly as former academic solidarities in France and Yugoslavia collapsed. This situation in turn impeded a more adequate analysis of the Yugoslav wars.
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Nadège Ragaru. Missed Encounters: Engaged French Intelectuals and the Yugoslav Wars. Südosteuropa (München, Südostinstitut) , 2013, 61 (4), pp.498 - 521. ⟨hal-03399517⟩



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