Alex J. Bellamy
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The nation in social practice II
Language, education and the Catholic Church

Because of the perceived importance of language in framing national identity, the language question not only dominated political debate during the Yugoslav period, but also continued to create controversy in independent Croatia. There were two key debates about the relationship between language and national identity. On the one hand, there was the question of whether the Croatian language was distinct from Serbian. On the other hand, there was the issue of what that Croatian language should look like, given that there has been no generally accepted and widely used Croatian standard language in recent history. While overtly liberal orientations could be discerned in the studies of regionalism and education, when we looked at football and the Church, counter-narratives emerged from other forms of nationalism and Christian theology. This chapter examines the language question in Croatia, the role of the Catholic Church in nurturing Croatian national identity, and how national identity was continually reinterpreted through social practice.

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