39 / 2014
Tanja Petrović

Multicultural Dynamics and Heritage (Re)Appropriation in Bela Krajina: Negotiating the Heritage of the Serbian Orthodox Community

The Serbian Orthodox community in the Bela Krajina region in southern Slovenia, which presently consists of four villages (Bojanci, Miliči, Marindol and Paunoviči), is considered the northernmost “island” ofthe Serbian Orthodox population and has traditionally been approached through the ideological lenses of locality, authenticity (or lack of thereof ), isolation and demarcation from other groups in Bela Krajina. As a consequence, the dominant discourses (both academic and popular) about this community are those that highlight and try to reconstruct “pure” cultural and linguistic traits, or those that lament overtheir inevitable disappearance. Such a binary perspective precludes any possibility of recognizing the dynamics in both everyday cultural patterns and in heritage negotiation in and around this community. This article highlights heritage as an experience utilized by diverse actors in making sense of their presentand future. As such it is necessarily dynamic, dialogical, multi-voiced, and contested.
KEYWORDS: heritage, Bela Krajina, Serbs, folklorization, nostalgia