From Yugoslavia to Yugonostalgia: political elements in narratives about life in the former SFRY

Autumn 2016

The paper examines the phenomenon of yugonostalgia in Serbia. Nostalgia for life in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia throughout the ex-Yugoslav region has been acknowledged by scholars, but not thoroughly investigated, with most of the research focusing on publicly displayed narratives, such as those in film, books and other media. Additionally, most of these narratives are almost exclusively devoid of political elements, a strange fact given how they refer to life in a significantly different ideological context. Acknowledging this surge of yugonostalgic narratives, present since the early 2000s, and building upon the existing body of analytical work, the author attempts to investigate deeper into the phenomenon. The article will firstly single out notable examples of public yugonostalgia, in an attempt to illustrate the various ways in which this sentiment is represented. Afterwards, main arguments of yugonostalgia scholars, including the Slovenian culturologist Mitja Velikonja and anthropologist Tanja Petrović, will be outlined. The crux of the paper, however, will be the interviews with inhabitants of Belgrade who had the experience of living in the SFRY. Their memories and sentiments regarding everyday life, but especially the regime and the political system, will be analysed and the conclusions compared with the ones previously made by other scholars. 

Twentieth Century Communism Journal Issue 11: Memory and Nostalgia