"All Yugoslavia Is Dancing Rock and Roll": Yugoslavness and the Sense of Community in the 1980s Yu-Rock

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch


  • Zlatko Jovanovic
The thesis examines the sense of Yugoslav-ness in the Yugoslav rock music culture in the specific socio-politico-economic situation of 1980s Yugoslavia. The main question in the thesis focuses on how this sense of community was caught up in the system of references to the country’s specific geopolitical position and its nationality policies, including the state-organization, political mythology and identity politics. In this respect, the primary interest is the relationship between different conceptions of Yugoslavism and the development of a pan-Yugoslav youth culture that emerged with the arrival of New Wave into the country in the late 1970s.
The study is carried through micro-historical analyses of the local rock scenes in the country’s four principal rock centres: Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo and Ljubljana. The scenes are used as empirical platforms for discussing broader issues, not necessarily limited to any individual scene. The thesis draws upon identity theories that emphasize dynamics and relationality of “identity” and approaches popular music as an arena for conflict and negotiation of cultural and political identities. Methodologically, the thesis is based on the theoretical assumption of intertextuality, stressing that a text can only communicate its meaning when situated in relation to other texts, as the meaning always “arises” between texts.
The thesis demonstrates that although Socialist Yugoslavia did not advocate creation of a supranational Yugoslav identity, but indeed discouraged it as much as possible, the sense of Yugoslavness and pronounced antinationalism of the Yugoslav youth culture did not emerged independently of Socialist Yugoslavia’s nationality policies. Rather, they were inextricably connected to a larger, over-arching, web of knowledge and ideas to which they related and depended very much on appropriations from a larger cultural apparatus that sometimes was beyond individual comprehension and that was closely related to these policies.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherDet Humanistiske Fakultet, Københavns Universitet
Number of pages197
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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