ISSN: 1550-7521

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Research Article Open Access

Disciplining Civil War: Serbian and U.S. Press Coverage of the 1990s Conflicts in Yugoslavia.


This essay explores Serbian and US print media coverage of a number of war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia. Utilizing Deleuze and Guattari work on fascism, the paper examines the theoretical concepts of overcoding, micropolitics and the rhizome in order to argue that both U.S. and Serbian print media coverage of the conflicts failed to provide adequate picture of the wars. The study focuses on newspaper articles in Borba (Struggle), a major Belgrade pro-government newspaper, and in Nasa Borba (Our Struggle), a leading opposition daily from Novi Sad/Serbia, during the Srebrenica crisis (July, 1995) and the fall of the breakaway Serb Republic in Croatia, (Republic of Serbian Krajina, RSK) (August, 1995). These newspapers’ portrayal of the incidents are, then, compared and contrasted to the coverage offered by the New York Times and the Washington Post for the same period. The paper also studies the pro-government Borba coverage of the conflict in Kosovo (1998-1999). The first part presents the collapse of Yugoslavia and the violence which accompanied it, arguing that the understanding of the tragedy necessitates attention at the micropolitical level. On the basis of Deleuze and Guattari theoretical concepts I contend that molar explanations should co-exist with molecular analysis of sentiments and desires that invite for a new explication of the mobilization of war-like behavior in former Yugoslavia. The second part of the paper highlights how the newspapers mentioned utilize overcoding as a strategic device to present the complexity of the civil wars. The analysis calls for a novel view to understand conflict, namely through a social practice of molecular and open discussion beneficial for a larger audience in global times.

Martin Yoanis Marinos

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