By Patrick Hyder Patterson
Yugoslavia used to be distinctive one of the communist international locations of the chilly warfare period in its openness to blending cultural parts from either socialism and capitalism. in contrast to their opposite numbers within the international locations of the Soviet Bloc, traditional Yugoslavs loved entry to quite a lot of patron items and prone, from outfits and home equipment to go back and forth businesses and discotheques. From the mid-1950s onward the political weather in Yugoslavia approved, and later every now and then inspired, a consumerist way of life of purchasing, spending, buying, and having fun with that engaged the general public on a daily foundation via glossy advertisements and revenues strategies. In Bought and Sold, Patrick Hyder Patterson finds the level to which socialist Yugoslavia embraced a client tradition frequently linked to capitalism and explores the position of consumerism within the federation's cave in into civil battle in 1991.
Based on remarkable learn and that includes impressive examples of Yugoslav print ads and mass tradition, this publication reconstructs in frequently dramatic element the increase of a tradition during which consumers' wants trumped real human wishes. Yugoslavia, Patterson argues, grew to become a land the place the symbolic, cultural worth of shopper items used to be a first-rate consider person and team identification. He indicates how a brand new, competitive company institution promoted consumerist traits that standard electorate eagerly followed, whereas the Communist management alternately inspired and limited the shopper orientation.
Abundance translated into civic contentment and looked as if it would end up that the regime may provide items and providers equivalent to these of the capitalist West, yet many Yugoslavs, either inside and out the circles of professional strength, apprehensive in regards to the contradiction among the population's include of intake and the dictates of Marxist ideology. the end result was once a heated public debate over creeping consumerist values, with the recent lifestyle discovering fierce critics and, unusually for a communist state, many passionate and vocal defenders. Patterson argues that consumerism used to be one of many severe elements that held the multiethnic society jointly in the course of the years of the Yugoslav "Good lifestyles" of the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies. With the industrial downturn of the Eighties, even though, the reliance on increasing consumerism eventually resulted in sour disillusionment, stripping the original Yugoslav version of its legitimacy and priming the population for mutual resentment, ethnic clash, and war.
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Extra info for Bought and Sold: Living and Losing the Good Life in Socialist Yugoslavia
Yet despite all this m aneuvering ro o m for p ro ducers, d istrib u to rs, advertis ers, and consum ers, the fun d am en tal political realities o f com m unist gover nance in Yugoslavia m eant th a t the society and its institutions w ere still very am enable to state direction an d w o u ld rem ain so even du rin g the final years of som etim es chaotic decen tralizatio n . Given the persistence of a t least the p o ten tial for real and m eaningful p o litical c o n tro l, a n o th e r key p roblem arises.
10 A prim e mission here m ust therefore be to characterize and interpret the texture of the consum er experience as it unfolded. A nother chief aim is to look carefully at questions o f agency, origin, and causatio n . The study therefore seeks, for exam ple, to determ ine how it was th a t those w ho governed Yugoslavia began to tol erate and even w elcom e som e aspects of consum erism . In sim plest term s, of course, the Yugoslav co n su m er cu ltu re grew o u t of the p a rty ’s experi m entation w ith m arket m echanism s th ro u g h its m uch ballyhooed system of “ socialist self-m anagem ent” [sa m o upravljanje].
M o re imm ediately, however, the break w ith the Soviets had a nearly crippling effect on Yugoslav foreign trade. 5 Very quickly W estern countries saw the o p p o rtu n ity to ex p lo it the breach, and aid from these unlikely su p p o rters, p articu larly from the U nited States, began pouring in to help Y ugoslavia w eath er the storm . Increased trad e w ith the cap ital ist w orld w ould follow shortly. T h u s began a fundam ental reorientation of the c o u n try ’s geopolitical po sitio n , a developm ent th a t itself ultim ately c ontributed to the rise of its co n su m er culture, alth o u g h it w ould certainly have been difficult to foresee such an outcom e a t this very early stage.
Bought and Sold: Living and Losing the Good Life in Socialist Yugoslavia by Patrick Hyder Patterson