Digging for the Truth: Archival Bias in the Case of Yugoslavia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Researchers love archives, but are their collections telling the full story? Who selects the content of archives and therefore has the power to shift our knowledge in one direction or the other? This paper tackles the problem of archival bias regarding the material documenting European Community–Yugoslav relations found in the archives of European Union institutions and the Diplomatic Archive of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia. Accordingly, the growing number of debates about Yugoslavia—its non-aligned orientation, domestic, economic and political problems, the Community’s explicit support for Slovenia and Croatia as the two most developed and pro-Western of all Yugoslavia’s constituent republics, the death of President Josip Broz Tito in 1980 and the general pessimism about the future of the post-Titoist state—altogether affected the relations between the Brussels and Belgrade administrations. However, as it will be argued, the two archival sites seem to differ with regard to the selection, translation and storage of relevant documents. The obvious discrepancies characterising the volume and content of their primary sources suggest that different archives had given priority to different themes while often ignoring some other crucial aspects even though some of them were decisive for the stability of their relations and the survival of the Yugoslav state.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocieties and Political Orders in Transition
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSocieties and Political Orders in Transition
ISSN (Print)2511-2201
ISSN (Electronic)2511-221X

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Development


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