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Some 1,000 people gather near a statue of Josip Broz Tito during a ceremony commemorating the 26th anniversary of his death in Sarajevo.

Yugo-nostalgia (Serbo-Croatian, Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Montenegrin, Slovene and Macedonian: Jugonostalgija; Cyrillic: Jугоносталгија) is a little-studied cultural phenomenon occurring among some citizens of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. While its anthropological and sociological aspects have not been clearly recognized, the term, and the corresponding epithet "Yugo-nostalgic", is commonly used by the people in the region in two distinct ways: as a positive personal descriptive, and as a derogatory label.[1]

Present cultural and economic manifestations of Yugo-nostalgia include music groups with Yugoslav or Titoist retro iconography, art works, films, theater performances, and many organized, themed tours of the main cities of the former Yugoslav republics.


Positive sense

In its positive sense, Yugo-nostalgia refers to a nostalgic emotional attachment to idealized positive aspects of the SFRY. These are promoted largely by left-wingers and anti-nationalists, both in the Western world and in former Yugoslav successor countries, who supported the continued existence of the old Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Its positive aspects are described as one or more of: economic security, socialist ideology, multiculturalism, internationalism and non-alignment, history, customs and traditions, and an allegedly more rewarding way of life. These are opposed to the perceived faults of the successor countries, which are still burdened by the consequences of the Yugoslav wars and are in various stages of economic and political transition. The faults are variously identified as parochialism, jingoism, corruption in politics and business, the disappearance of the social safety net, economic hardship, income inequities, higher crime rates, as well as a general disarray in administrative and other state institutions.

Negative sense

In the negative sense, the epithet has been used by the supporters of the new post-dissolution regimes to portray their critics as anachronistic, unrealistic, unpatriotic, and potential traitors. In particular, during and after the Yugoslav wars, the adjective has been used by state officials and media of some successor countries to deflect criticism and discredit certain avenues of political debate. In fact, it is likely that the term Yugo-nostalgic was originally coined precisely for this purpose, appearing as a politically motivated pejorative label in government-controlled media, for example in Croatia, very soon after the breakup of the SFRY.[2]

Decline and rise of Yugoslavism

Since the breakup of SFRY, the idea of Yugoslavism had gradually lost popularity. The name Yugoslavia was kept by Serbia and Montenegro in their federation prior to 2003, when it was replaced by the federal republics' individual names. The number of declared Yugoslavs in the region is now much lower than ever before. The last census in Serbia showed approximately 80,000 Yugoslavs, but at this time the country was still known as such. The "Yugoslav language", Serbo-Croatian, is no longer the official language of any of the former state's constituent republics. Few resources are published about the language, and it has no standardizing body. The .yu Internet domain name, which is popular among Yugo-nostalgic websites, is also being phased out.

Yugo-nostalgia is seeing a come back in the former Yugoslav states.[3] In northern Serbia one man has set up Yugoland, a place dedicated to Tito and Yugoslavia.[4][5] Citizens from former Yugoslavia have traveled great distances to celebrate the life of Tito and the country of Yugoslavia.[3][6][7]

See also


  • Trovesi, Andrea: L'enciclopedia della Jugonostalgija. In Banchelli, Eva: Taste the East: Linguaggi e forme dell'Ostalgie, Sestante Edizioni, Bergamo 2006, ISBN 88-87445-92-3, p. 257-274.
  • Dejan Djokic, ed. "Yugoslavism: Histories of a Failed Idea, 1918–1992". London: Hurst & Co., 2003. 356 pp.
  • Yugo-Nostalgia: Cultural Memory and Media in the Former Yugoslavia, Author: Volcic, Zala, Critical Studies in Media Communication, Volume 24, Number 1, March 2007 , pp. 21-38(18), Publisher: Routledge.


External links



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