Serbian tradition

The new issue of Vreme has an interview with the historian Branka Prpa, director of the Belgrade Historical Archive and chief editor of a new book, Hronologija: Moderna srpska država 1804–2004 [Chronology of the modern Serbian state, 1804-2004]. Dr Prpa argues that from the 19th century onward, there is a strong modernising current that runs through Serbian history, and that this can be regarded as among the most distinguished traditions of the country. In doing so she argues against those critics on the political right who use "tradition" as an argument for undoing modernising reforms. A quote:

"Those people who call so much on tradition ought to know that aside from the Cyrillic alphabet, there is something else that can be called a Serbian tradition, except they are not familiar with it, and that is shameful for any traditionalist who claims to respect their own tradition. They should first familiarise themselves with their tradition, rather than before that, on the basis of their own ignorance, coming out with positions and decisions by which they define the idea of tradition."

One popular definition of tradition is that it is that set of practices that people engage in without knowing why. And imagine knowing why!

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