Annual, Spring School "Ethnography of Socialism"
Socialism as an ideology and as a basis for social arrangement of certain number of countries in the world has been in the focus of the research community since the time of their creation. Socialism has been analyzed by researchers from countries that belonged to this block, but even more in the focus of interest of “Western” authors.
However, the main interest related to socialism as ideology and basis of social, political, economic and cultural arrangement rose after its fall and the changes that took place in the countries of the so called “Eastern bloc”, or according to the new post-socialist nomenclature, “the countries of the Eastern-European block”, that started after the collapse of USSSR, at the beginning of the 1990ties. Thus, from today’s point of view, it can be said that the main critical anthropological analysis of socialist and communist societies of the South-East European countries were made after the fall of this system, and after the advance of democratization of these societies and their opening towards the “West”. First anthropological studies that deal with individual cases of socialist states (USSR, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia) were made at the begging of the 1990-ties, as separate case studies aiming to analyze the similarities and the specific elements of socialistic societies in each of these countries.
Having in mind the fact that the Yugoslav Socialistic Federation had a specific political, economic and ideological position in relation to the socialistic and communist East, on one side, and towards the capitalist West on the other, Yugoslavia and its leader Josip Broz Tito, as well as the specific forms of social, political and economic arrangements, presented, and still present a special interest of a number of researchers.
However, a general conclusion is that, when it comes to Yugoslavia, the interest rose as a result of the events that started its dissolution, which became stronger through the years that followed, full of armed conflicts, bloodsheding, ethnic cleansings and drastic changes of the political, economic and social order in the newly created countries that stemmed from the ex-Yugoslav community.
Thus, we think that from today’s perspective there is an extremely big need for a more subtle research of the nature of socialism as ideology, and it implementation in every-day life, that left deep traces and memories. Starting from the theory of the constructed character of memories of Maurice Halbwach, according to whom a major part of memories are reconstructions of past through events in the present, memories are never just simple records of past, but interpretative constructions, that bear the marks of local narratives, cultural values, social discourse and of practical actions in social context, that opens additional possibilities for interested students and others to understand this system and subtly enter the nature and the character of this complex phenomenon, that is usually named ‘Yugonostalgia’.
Aims of the school
The spring school aims to offer the participants detailed data and analysis of the most important features and specificities of socialist system and communist ideology and their reflections upon every-day life of people. We will research the dynamics of the formation of personal and collective memories of the socialistic past and their influence upon the contemporary notion of cultural heritage and identity. Also, the aim is to undertake comparative analysis or at least offer case studies that could reveal the main similarities and differences in the practical implementation of socialism and of communist ideology in SFRY and the countries of the ex-Eastern bloc.
Based upon the analysis of the ideological concepts of the social and economic arrangement of the socialistic systems, as well as through research of empiric data collected on the field, we will discuss the most important models of socialistic morality, examples of realization and consequences on different levels and in different periods of the transformation of the socialist system, that has also evolved itself through time.
A special place will be given to the importance of family and gender in socialistic society, the cult towards the soldier and the army, that has grown into a celebration of the Yugoslav army, the place and the role of media, especially the written ones in the creation or strengthening of socialistic and communist ideology ‘on the field’, migration movements from the villages to the cities, as well as the ‘volunteer’ migrations from one part of Yugoslavia to another, that changed the ethnic, religious and other features of certain areas. Few examples of civil associations will be also covered, such as the influential Fighters’ Association.
The School will be conducted through these different forms:
- Three courses focusing on different topics and 1 dedicated to theoretical and methodological approaches in the research of socialism, accompanied with field research of the participants
- Field research in a period of 7 days, with a final presentation of results
- Different related activities, concerning cultural heritage of socialism: music, film, theatre etc.
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