Temptations of a Socialist Paradise – Reflections of a Consumerist Society in Yugoslavian Films of the 1960s Cover Image

Искушења социјалистичког раја – рефлексије конзумеристичког друштва у југословенском филму 60-их година XX века
Temptations of a Socialist Paradise – Reflections of a Consumerist Society in Yugoslavian Films of the 1960s

Author(s): Miroslava Malešević
Subject(s): Anthropology
Published by: Етнографски институт САНУ
Keywords: Yugoslavia; worker self-management; West; consumer society,cinematography

Summary/Abstract: In a world divided by irreconcilable ideological differences into the capitalist West and the socialist East, Yugoslavia itself has, since the early fifties, faced a permanent choice between two options, on the borderline between those two opposing blocs. Coerced by political circumstances, the country's leadership had chosen its own path into communism, formulated through the idea of worker self-management that secured the belief among the people of Yugoslavia that they did not belong to either of the sides divided by the iron curtain. Although it was initially promoted as an expression of authentic Marxism, these unique political projects inevitably lead to an increasing openness toward the western world. The reduction of central government control over the economy, opening of borders, freedom of movement inside and outside the country, freedom of companies to trade abroad, permissible limited private property etc. allowed for easier access to elements of a consumer society that were coming from the West. Getting closer to the western world, as a cultural and an economic process, in the early 1960s also became a subject of Yugoslavian cinematography, which had after a string of years of partisan films begun to deal with modern (urban) life. Through an anthropological analysis of the most popular domestic films made during that period, such as: Zajednicki stan, Nema malih bogova, Ljubav i moda and Na mesto gradjanine pokorni, in this paper I observe how ideological dilemmas concerning the first experiences of abandoning 'pure' socialism and the gradual acceptance of consumerism manifested in society (just prior to the economic reform of 1965.), the vision of some future society that came to exist and the encounter with the taste of its values and lifestyle (the appearance of market mentality where new rules become important – competition and a fight for personal interest, individualism opposed to collective socialist solidarity etc.).

  • Issue Year: LX/2012
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 107-123
  • Page Count: 17
  • Language: Serbian