Dejan Jovic is Lecturer in Politics and Director of the Centre for European Neighbourhood Studies at University of Stirling, Scotland. He is also a book review editor for the Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans.
Yugoslavia: A State that Withered Away by Dejan Jovic. West Lafayette IN: Purdue University Press, 2009. 419pp., 49.95, ISBN 978 1 55753 495 8
Dejan Jovic is Director of the Centre for European Neighbourhood Studies at the University of Stirling, Scotland and currently an adviser to the president of the Republic of Croatia, and consequently his book stands out as an indispensable work on the collapse of socialist Yugoslavia. The volume primarily focuses on analysing the ideological and constitutive aspects of the Yugoslav state, and it argues that ideological crisis was the key cause for the Yugoslav dissolution. The author proffers an innovative and well-argued account of the Marxist notion of the 'withering away of the state' by analysing the emergence, implementation, crisis and collapse of this ideological notion in socialist Yugoslavia. Interestingly, he approaches the topic first by presenting and criticising existing explanations for the break-up ofYugoslavia before finding them inadequate and continuing by arguing and substantiating his own views on ideological crisis and collapse. Thus Jovic successfully presents a critique of other approaches to
theYugoslav dissolution and also examines theYugoslav case in historical perspective from three particular standpoints: adoption of the last constitutional compromise of 1974, the implementation crisis of the respective constitutive model and, finally, the roots of
the 1980s ideological disintegration that instituted the Yugoslav downfall. This contribution on Yugoslavia is certainly a success because the author has managed to offer a markedly different view of the Yugoslav crisis and downfall, thus raising an important critique and re-evaluating already accepted and established accounts on Yugoslavia. Most notably, Jovic rejects the very popular, and certainly widely perceived, factor of ancient ethnic hatreds, among other things, as having led to the break-up. Yugoslavia: A State thata