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«February 2020»

The Moral Economy of Genocide: Consumption, Terror and Social Mobility in Greater Croatia, 1941-1945

This project is a case study of social mobility and terror in the Independent State of Croatia, exploring the Holocaust and racial politics under the rule of the fascist Ustasha movement through the prism of social, economic and intellectual history. It challenges conventional historiography about an ideologically-homogenous movement in which power devolved from the centre to the regions and in which the state was governed from the top down. It also rejects the separation between socio-economic and cultural politics and genocide inherent in many studies of the Ustasha state; instead, it considers the extent to which they were part of a wider synthesised process.

The project analyses to what extent the Ustasha state’s campaign of mass killing and deportation was instrumentalised from above by state agencies and officials and how far it was a response to pressures from below, a means of negotiating and addressing generational, economic, intellectual and social conflicts. It also considers how mass terror was informed and even driven by ideas about social mobility, economic transformation and cultural revolution present not just in the Ustasha movement but Croatian society in the 1930s more widely.

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