Collective Memory of a Dissolved Country: Group-Based Nostalgia and Guilt Assignment as Predictors of Interethnic Relations Between Diaspora Groups From Former Yugoslavia


  • Borja Martinovic
  • Jolanda Jetten
  • Anouk Smeekes
  • Maykel Verkuyten


In this study we examined intergroup relations between immigrants of different ethnic backgrounds (Croats, Serbs, and Bosniaks) originating from the same conflict area (former Yugoslavia) and living in the same host country (Australia). For these (formerly) conflicted groups we investigated whether interethnic contacts depended on superordinate Yugoslavian and subgroup ethnic identifications as well as two emotionally laden representations of history: Yugonostalgia (longing for Yugoslavia from the past) and collective guilt assignment for the past wrongdoings. Using unique survey data collected among Croats, Serbs and Bosniaks in Australia (N = 87), we found that Yugoslavian identification was related to stronger feelings of Yugonostalgia, and via Yugonostalgia, to relatively more contact with other subgroups from former Yugoslavia. Ethnic identification, in contrast, was related to a stronger assignment of guilt to out-group relative to in-group, and therefore, to relatively less contact with other subgroups in Australia. We discuss implications of transferring group identities and collective memories into the diaspora.