Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Prophecies, Horoscopes and the Politics of Paranormal in Serbia

Srdja Pavlovic
2001 Spacesofidentity.net  
S R D J A P A V L O V I C It could be argued that, in any given society, the feelings of isolation (social, political or cultural) of a group and its members, and the helplessness that often derives from such isolation, can create and condition a paranoid-like perception not only of one's own reality and immediate environment, but of the world as well. rough a complicated web of causalities, such feelings can also gradually induce feelings of one's particular importance, grandeur and generally
more » ... deur and generally superiority in regard to others, as well as a belief that the group in question is the subject of others' hate, persecution and conspiracy. Such convictions are often employed in a community "under siege" as modes of explaining the state of affairs and are used for bringing together (preserving) goals and motivations of individuals, thus enhancing a sense of togetherness in the members of the group. Moreover, as the case of Serbia will show, they are employed as tools for rationalizing a political or economic crisis (or both), and for sustaining persons in power. Such a way of thinking and perceiving the world, in turn, calls for and legitimizes (within its own narrowly defined sets of references) violent reactions against those perceived as the enemy. Given such modes of behavior and perceptions of reality, it is understandable why the diplomatic efforts of a third party towards easing the tensions between the contesting parties are usually doomed to failure. Such political mediation and crisis management represents, in most cases, an effort to find suitable solutions based on a pragmatic evaluation of the available options and an assessment of the consequences, but often does not take into account the particular character and construction of the problem itself. Even though such patterns of behavior could be illustrated with numerous examples throughout the world and throughout history, we consider it important to draw attention to the situation of modern day Serbia. Much has been written about the recent political developments in Serbia and the purpose of this essay is to shed some light upon an aspect of Serbia's political system and  spaces of identity /
doi:10.25071/1496-6778.8055 fatcat:nunhe3vxmnbgnh7s5y2bh2ln5q