Tribe, (caste) and nation in the Balkans
Contradiction and change in Yugoslavia and Croatia
in The anthropology of power, agency, and morality
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Bailey’s models for describing and analyzing sociocultural conflict and contradiction in Tribe, Caste and Nation (1960) influenced work in Yugoslavia and Croatia during two distinct periods of research. The chapter first describes family, gender, and household life in Yugoslavia in the years following Tito’s death. Bailey’s rich understanding of the ways in which people invoke competing, but overlapping models for the ways things should be, and his attention to everyday life, described in case studies, provided an approach that uncovered subtle but meaningful changes in household patterns and in gender roles and relationships. Women learned to use bridge-actions to achieve greater autonomy. The chapter shifts focus to a second period of work, the early 1990s, a period marked by economic and political tensions that eventually led to war. Again, drawing on Bailey as a theoretician and scholar, the chapter describes changes in understandings tied to ethnicity and nationalism at a local level. In both cases, overlapping systems and contradictions among them provided space for shifts in behavior, and ultimately thought, about gender, families, ethnicity, and more.

The anthropology of power, agency, and morality

The enduring legacy of F. G. Bailey

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