Yugonostalgia is usually considered a sentimental, passive, backward oriented mentality pattern and an escapist emotion of the people who suffered most during the last twenty-five years of post-Socialist transition and fraticidal wars. On 17 February, Dr Mitja Velikonja (University of Ljubljana) will problematise this idea and provide an alternative perspective on Yugonostalgia, in his lecture entitled 'Between Collective Memory and Political Action - Emancipative Potentials of Yugonostalgia in Post-Dayton Bosnia-Herzegowina.' The seminar is organised by the Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies.
Velikonja will outline how Yugonostalgia in contemporary Bosnia-Herzegovina is also an active social platform, cultural production, and an emancipative political force, uniting most different discourses and groups of people: in nostalgic associations, in different public events and celebrations, in popular and alternative culture, in media, in the cyber world, even in consumerism and nostalgic tourism.
The main features of this emancipative, engaged Yugonostalgia in Bosnia-Herzegovina are social criticism, the defence of the past, an openness to the outside world, and direct political activity. Through examples, Velikonja will show how it can offer – on the basis of the multicultural, tolerant tradition from the Socialist/Yugoslav decades – an effective and progressive alternative to the ethnic divisions, hatred, and exclusivism that still now prevail in this war-torn country.
Dr Mitja Velikonja is Professor for Cultural Studies and head of Center for Cultural and Religious Studies at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Main areas of his research include Central-European and Balkan political ideologies, subcultures and urban cultures, collective memory and post-socialist nostalgia. His last monographs in English language are Rock'n'Retro - New Yugoslavism in Contemporary Slovenian Music (Ljubljana: 2013), Titostalgia – A Study of Nostalgia for Josip Broz (Ljubljana: 2008), Eurosis – A Critique of the New Eurocentrism (Ljubljana: 2005) and Religious Separation and Political Intolerance in Bosnia-Herzegovina (TAMU Press: 2003).