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e-book After Yugoslavia: Identities and Politics within the Successor States

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As such, Yugonostalgia can be used for commercial purposes and be a means for the commodification of feelings and memories. Introduction More than two decades after the dissolution of Yugoslavia, remembering the country could still be extremely emotional for former Yugoslavs.

Yugoslavia

Even public events related to Yugoslavia almost regularly become sites of memories. In this article, I will point to the ways in which the relation to Yugoslavia appears to be deeply intertwined with the concept of love. Arguing that Yugonostalgia can be understood as a kind of love, i. In that process, it becomes neutralized and naturalized in a similar fashion as the concept of romantic love—the concept is taken for granted and sometimes approached uncritically.

The case studies will be from post-Yugoslav popular music culture, and this choice is not accidental. In fact, popular music was one of the most important products of the cultural politics of socialist Yugoslavia Vuletic However, the wars did not make the music practices disappear. Less than a decade after the breakup of Yugoslavia, some of the popular music stars from its former republics began giving concerts in new post-Yugoslav spaces, provoking divergent receptions, being, on the one hand, provocative events, whereas, on the other, events that produced nostalgic recollections of the past Petrov Given the context, in the aftermath of Yugoslav wars, it can be said that listening to Yugoslav popular music has been often seen as a choice charged with political meaning, as a symptom of nostalgia for the lost homeland, and as a statement against the politics of the post-Yugoslav states.

Furthermore, the experience of being Yugoslav is still felt by many, and Yugoslav popular music especially demonstrates the ongoing currency of the continuity of Yugoslav popular cultures and markets. This article analyses Yugonostalgia and explains that its ideation in relation to music has an emotional effect and produces an ideology of love.

It argues that this is achieved through the market forces that support this music and the modes of identification used by musicians. The analysis begins with an explanation of the historical background, continues with the problematization of the concept of Yugonostalgia and then elaborates on how it is applied to music. In conducting the analysis of Yugonostalgia as an emotional ideology, and an ideology of love specifically, I will point to two separate levels of producing the ideology: the level of the market and media, which is grounded in the discourses and practices of the musicians involved, and the level of the audience, i.

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I will focus on showing how Yugonostalgia is intertwined with the reconciliation process, the process itself being deeply imbued in the concept of love that is furthermore used in the market. I will deal with two rather different examples: the first one refers to the perception of Yugoslavia and its public figures as an emotional heritage and homeland, and the other with an explicit usage of the ideology of love for positioning in the new post-Yugoslav market.

The idea of Yugoslavia emerged and developed as the concept of the movement of Illyrians in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia appeared after the peace conference in Versailles after WWI, when the new borders of European countries were drawn, particularly after the fall of defeated Austro-Hungarian Empire.

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The crucial event in Yugoslav history after the war was its split with the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites in when the Communist Information Bureau expelled Yugoslavia from its ranks and withdrew all economic and technical aid after Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito refused to submit to Soviet political domination.

Soon afterwards, the ruling Yugoslav party abandoned a Soviet-style cultural politics that had condemned popular music as a cultural, political, and social threat from the West, and in so doing opened Yugoslavia to Western cultural influences, as it sought economic and political support from the West. While Yugoslavia was perceived as a solid, modern, and progressive country in the s and the s, the state became more and more decentralized in the s, leading to serious economic and political problems in the following decade.

The constitution, in which the aforementioned autonomous provinces within Serbian borders were defined and by which the Yugoslav republics gained more freedom, marked the progression towards decentralization and the beginning of the dissolution of Yugoslavia. Political tensions escalated and eventually led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia during the wars between and There were divergent ways of producing a collective identity that would epitomize the values of the described ideology, among which popular culture and particularly music was highly relevant.

Yugoslav Successor States (Part Four) - Central and Southeast European Politics since

Yugoslav popular music was thus a result of divergent influences present in the cultural politics in socialist Yugoslavia. Yugoslav music typically changed in accordance with tendencies of the Western music industry. During the s, there were numerous politics shaping the musical practices in post-Yugoslav divided territories.

For instance, certain genres were connected to the official nationalist politics, whereas others were commonly regarded as supposedly neutral.

MONTENEGRO:YUGOSLAV GOVERNMENT INTERVENES IN POLITICAL CRISIS

Furthermore, some of the music activities of performers coming from war-affected areas Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to Serbia and vice versa , were sometimes seen as provocative. Also, due to their ethnical background or places of origin, certain musicians were involved in politics of language that was one of the crucial means of construction of the national identities during and after the dissolution of Yugoslavia cf.

Baker I will elaborate on these issues later in the text when discussing specific cases. Even though Yugonostalgia share some similarities with other nostalgias worldwide, especially those in former socialist countries cf. Bach , the specificity of the Yugoslav case of nostalgia is to be found in the political post-war context in which it has appeared. After the Yugoslav wars of the s, the situation in former Yugoslav republics was difficult, in some parts due to the international sanctions and isolation, while in others due to the war conflicts.

This resulted, in addition to the loss of human lives, in enormous brain drain, which eventually led to a change of profile of former Yugoslavia as well as Yugoslav diaspora. Post-Yugoslav social, political and cultural spaces were firstly characteristic by the avoidance of the socialist past. After a decade of historical revisionism, and especially due to the emerging age of new technologies and the Internet, numerous discussions on the remembrance of Yugoslavia appeared, both in concrete material spaces such as, for instance, concert venues , and in virtual spaces such as those related to certain YouTube links showing videos from the Yugoslav era, as well as many Facebook pages and groups.

Reading the situation from the perspective of a post-conflict Yugoslav context, it is relevant to highlight that these spaces, especially the virtual ones, can be seen as the platforms for reconciliation after the wars in a new context in which former Yugoslavs, sometimes immigrants from different parts of former Yugoslavia, communicate with each other in a more relaxed fashion than it has been possible in their countries of origin. In certain sociological studies, it is argued that the phenomenon seems to be a feature of the less developed post-Yugoslav countries, such as Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, i.

Furthermore, there is research debating the construal of nostalgia as an emotion and an ideology in the context of retro culture Velikonja Drawing on the concept developed by Svetlana Boym, nostalgia for the Yugoslav past appears to be more often than not of the reflexive kind, not the restorative one. Furthermore, one of the issues I address is how we theorize about supposedly private and genuine emotions and how those emotions intersect the politics of public discourses.

From that perspective, I pose a question about how come that a seemingly banal repackaging of the past within the post-Yugoslav music market triggers supposedly genuine emotions. In my approach to nostalgia generally, and Yugonostalgia particularly, I aim to develop a more nuanced theoretical profile, critically debating with the positions promoted in the mentioned literature. Rather than discussing if nostalgia is of a passive or emancipatory nature, I will elaborate on numerous implications of the practices that are today possible due to the nostalgic culture. In addition to the striking intertwinement of the two, the actual term love was quite often used when describing the relation to Yugoslavia in general, or its music in particular, or the relation of the people from the former country.

The question that I address here is how can we theorize about supposedly private and genuine emotions? Do our emotions belong to us, or are they also a part of the commercial needs of the post-Yugoslav music market? Or, more broadly, how is the concept of love and the actual word imbued in music practices? As Ahmed puts it, the emotions both generate their objects and repeat past associations.


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From that context, I will point here to the emotional performatives realized through the usage of the concept of love, which is furthermore perpetuated in virtual discursive contexts. Additionally, addressing love as a political concept can challenge conventional conceptions that separate the logic of political interests from our affective lives and oppose political reason to the passions. As Michale Hardt points out, a political concept of love would have to deploy at once reason and passion.

Also, love is a motor of both transformation and duration or continuity. We lose ourselves in love and open the possibility of a new world, but at the same time, love constitutes powerful bonds that last Hardt , p. From this perspective, I argue that love is a very powerful political force. It is relevant to point out the fact that the concepts of nostalgia and love have been interconnected from the beginning of the actual phenomenon of nostalgia.

In fact, at the time when nostalgia was construed as an illness, other symptomatic terms existed. Going through the etymological genesis of the concept of nostalgia, Cassin states that returning and love have been always connected Cassin , p. Hence, the desire to return home is instead realized in loving what has left of Yugoslavia: the culture, the music, the people. The commercialization of the concept of love is a rather common feature in post-Yugoslav popular culture. The comments made on these links point to the politics of remembrance of Yugoslav popular culture.

Insight into the web communities shows that there could be some political implications of the enjoyment since the actual links are used to engage in the construction of multifarious emotional reactions concerning the sentimental remembrance of the past. Nevertheless, the language presented in both Senahid Halilovic's Orthographic Manual and Alija Isakovic's Dictionary is tolerant of language variation, especially when compared to the new Croatian. In conclusion, whereas the Serbs and Bosnian Muslims have revealed signs of tolerance in their language policies, the Croats have attempted to establish a centrally- monitored language unity for all Croats.

These three successor languages compete in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and this has implications for ethnic relations and for the future of the country's educational system. Over the past year, there have been moves to establish separate ethnically-oriented curricula, which has been strongly opposed by the US government. Thus far, little progress has been made to alleviate language controversies within Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Language issues could thwart progress towards integration and cooperation both within the Croat-Muslim Federation and between Bosnia's two entities. Skip to main content. Global Europe Program. Ion Ratiu Democracy Award. Grant Opportunities. Society and Culture. Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? Australian National University Library. Open to the public. John and Alison Kearney Library. Open to the public ; DR La Trobe University Library. Borchardt Library, Melbourne Bundoora Campus.

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