Chapter 5. Croatia in search of a national day

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This chapter analyzes the identity-building force of and controversies associated with national days in Croatia by examining the front pages of three influential Croatian dailies (Vjesnik, Slobodna Dalmacija, and Novi list) from 1988 to 2005. Following a social semiotics approach (Kress and Leeuwen 1998; Leeuwen 2005), I look at several front-page elements (congratulatory items, the relationship of visual and verbal elements, keywords of headlines and leads), and I analyze their function in three periods. The analysis seeks to explain how the changes in featuring Statehood Day on front pages relate to opposing Statehood Day narratives in Croatian public discourse, and to explain what factors contribute to the unstable nature of Statehood Day as a state symbol. Applying discourse-analytic categories of legitimization and othering, I examine how the newspapers and various participants in public discourse have used the holidays to create positive self-images and negative other-images.


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