Hybrid Affects of Religious Nationalism: Pilgrimages to Kosovo and the Soundscapes of the Utopian Past

In: Southeastern Europe
Srđan AtanasovskiInstitute of Musicology sasa, Belgrade

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In this paper I analyze the contemporary practice of Serbian pilgrimages to Kosovo, which have been on the rise in the aftermath of the Kosovo Declaration of Independence. Designating the Serbian pilgrimage to Kosovo as a hybrid affective experience, I investigate how sentiments of religion and nation interact through the media of sound and music, pointing out the role of the shared lived experience of the community. I discuss how affects, which are alternately produced by the social machines of religion and of nation, become hybridized and synergistically reinforced in situ, not only relying on discursive games and strategies, but also on the immediacy of the lived ‘truth’. I emphasize in particular the role of musical experience in this process, showing how music activates mnemonic processes and provokes affects in the community as it is uncritically inscribed on the bodies of the individuals through both communal music-listening and music-making.

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