Plural Pasts and Monolithic Present: Youth and Multicultural Heritage in Croatia
The present paper seeks to explore the awareness and knowledge about past cultural diversity of young people in four Croatian cities (Pula, Rijeka, Zadar and Zagreb) with rich multicultural historical legacies. It is based on the results of a survey obtained from 631 high-school students in these cities. The survey focused on students’ awareness and knowledge of plural cultural heritage in their respective cities and their ideas about what should be valued and how. It also included students’ attitudes and beliefs about current diversity issues and intercultural values, which enabled the researchers to explore the association between their knowledge of heritage and their intercultural attitudes in more detail. The results obtained indicate that both the degree of awareness of past diversity and acceptance or rejection of intercultural values varied by specific spatial, historic and current socio-demographic contexts of the cities. While the overall findings suggest a comparatively strong association between heritage and intercultural values, some of them indicate that appreciation of past cultural diversity may also co-exist with current anti-multicultural attitudes. This has implications for education policy and strategies in facing the challenges of a decline in socio-political support for intercultural values in both Croatia and a wider European context.