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History of Communism in Europe

Volume 8, 2017

The Other Half of Communism: Women's Outlook

Iva Jelušić
Pages 323-342

The Mother in the Yugoslav Partisan Myth
Creative Revisions and Subversive Messages in Women-Centred Narratives

The foundations of the narrative about the partisan war in socialist Yugoslavia (1941 – 1945) drew from the familiar tradition of folktales and prompted the moulding of a group of characters who, as a rule, followed a pre-established sequence of events, offering a rather polished image of the People’s Liberation Struggle (Narodnooslobodilačka borba, NOB). This paper will focus on one archetype that found its place in the war myth–the partisan mother. The aim of the paper is to illustrate how the women who experienced the armed conflict in Yugoslavia described women’s wartime engagement. More specifically, it shows the extent of their participation in the promotion of the officially established image of the partisan mother and the aspects in which their narrative reimagined, enriched and challenged the heritage of the People’s Liberation Struggle.

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