Assassination on Zoran Đinđić: Thanatopolitics as politics of remembrance in Serbia

U Centru za jugoistočnoeuropske studije (CSEES) Sveučilišta u Grazu Željana Tunić održat će predavanje (utorak 14.3.2017, 13h) o političkom životu Zorana Đinđića nakon njegove smrti.






brownbag seminar


Resowi, SR 15.33, tract B, 3rd floor


Tuesday, 14 March, 2017 – 13:00 to 14:00


Speaker(s): Željana Tunić

This DFG funded project examines the “(political) life” of the Serbian politician and intellectual Zoran Đinđić after his death. Đinđić continues to live in nowadays Serbia as “martyr” and “vampire”, as “one of the greatest” und as “one of the most negative persons of Serbian history”, as “outsider” and a “regularly guy”. Using the theory of thanatopolitics developed by the Serbian sociologist Todor Kuljić this paper wants to explain Đinđić’s afterlife in the context of politics and cultures of remembrance in transitional Serbia.

Đinđić was assassinated in 2003 during his mandate as Prime Minister. As the reactions after his violent death were showing, Zoran Đinđić being a dead body challenged the Serbian society and its political and intellectual elite even more than Zoran Đinđić had done being alive. The government declared the national state of emergency, while (at least one part of) the society was in mourning. A majority of the citizens experienced the Prime Minister’s assassination as threat to the state or as a possible breakdown of the whole system. If we consider this phase as a state of “liminality” and the rituals around it as an attempt to overcome it, the question arises if and how Đinđić was to be (re)incorporated in the identity concepts of the citizens in Serbia. This was mainly a question of self-perception of the elites: Their political agenda defined which role they were willing to give to Đinđić in the “collective memory of the nation” or of the “citizens”. This paper seeks to explore this by analysing funeral and other rituals, as well as discourses around Đinđić’s death as performances. Furthermore, the success of these attempts will be analysed by studying rituals on anniversaries of Đinđić’s death, of streets, boulevards and market squares named after him, and finally of books and public events dedicated to him. In the last part it will be discussed, why and how it is possible, that Đinđić’s former political opponents are commemorating his death while his former party members can’t find a common language concerning the former chairman of their party, so that there are many different groups claiming Đinđić as their (main) figure of remembrance.