Methored by Nadine Botha
Best thesis award from Center for Women Studies Zgareb 2022

Using the body as an archive, the author is analysing the non-verbal layers of the Croatian and Balkan society. Emphasising the social values Balkan bodies are carrying inside of them and the way the values are performed. Inspired by Foucault and his notion of power and body, the present thesis questions the power dynamic of gender roles in the Balkan region. Whereas Judith Butler’s theory helps to unveil how the harmful gender roles are activated and performed in Croatian traditional dances. While the dances are serving as a tool to decode the values enacted by danced bodies, it is equally important to understand which social values are performed outside of the danced context.

Nonetheless, before analysing the dances the thesis is tracing back in Balkan history, in the time the dances were constructed and practised underlining the strong patriarchal influence Balkan society is still facing today. Furthermore, emphasising the consequences of patriarchal power on the bodies of new generations and the burden of social dynamics which is keeping them from experimenting above the imposed norms. Lastly, the author is stressing the importance of deconstructing the tradition to prevent it from disappearing from social life. Deconstructing the tradition as a form of social critique is necessary to acknowledge oppressive traditional values and inscribe new values we wish to perpetuate.