Chapter 10 From Incarnation to Identity: The Theological Background of National-Populist Politics in the Western Balkans

In: The Spirit of Populism
Zoran Grozdanov
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The call “We are the people” echoed throughout Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a call for democratic participation in the formation of new states. But “We are the people” also echoes through Europe today, albeit as a call for a ‘true people.’ In today’s South East Europe, particularly in the Western Balkans, populist politics relies on the concept of an ethnically, religiously, and culturally homogenous people, combined with the nationalism that was present in the formation of new nation states during the 1990s. This chapter investigates the theological support for nationalism and patriotism that fuels the populist movements in the countries of the Western Balkans. Zoran Grozdanov analyzes and assesses texts by Pope John Paul II and their reception in the Western Balkan in order to show how the Pope draws his political theological thought about the identities of particular cultural and ethnic groups from the conceptualization of the Incarnation.

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The Spirit of Populism

Political Theologies in Polarized Times

Series:  Political and Public Theologies, Volume: 1


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