Brotherhood and Unity: Yugonostalgia in the 21st Century
Posted on 13th April 2023 at 22:40
By Sebastian Grace and Sophie Russinoff
“Yugonostalgia” refers to a nostalgic longing for the former Yugoslav state and its socialist past. It is a complex phenomenon that emerged in the Balkan region in the aftermath of the disintegration of Yugoslavia through conflict in the 1990s. It is often materialized as not only a yearning for the past but also an act of resistance against the present, a way of reclaiming a collective memory and shared identity that was suppressed by nationalism and the subsequent neoliberal transformation of states and societies in the region. Despite criticisms that “Yugonostalgia” has been blind to the failures of the past and its lack of critical engagement with the old Yugoslav system, we aim to investigate whether the phenomena remains a potential mobilizing force for change or a tired ideology of those who refuse to look to the future.
In this podcast, Sophie Russinoff and I discuss how “Yugonostalgia” materializes today, including the revival of Yugoslav pop culture, the romanticizing of the Tito era, using Yugoslav symbols, and the celebration of past Yugoslav sporting successes. When we traveled to Serbia and Bosnia in the summer of 2022, we investigated post-conflict reconstruction in the former Yugoslavia, the reemergence of authoritarian movements and leaders in the Balkans and the increasing external involvement in Balkan affairs by international actors. This podcast is a “deep dive” into a fascination born on our travels and features information on the history and culture of the region, the background to the concept of “Yugonostalgia” and interviews with experts on the region as well as ordinary people who live and work there.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it:
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