Accepted paper:

Ideological clashes in the post-Yugoslav sevdalinka


Miha Kozorog (ZRC SAZU)
Alenka Bartulovic (University of Ljubljana)

Paper short abstract:

This ethnographic paper explores sevdalinka as contested genre that since the break-up of Yugoslavia represents contradictory ideological positions and clashing visions of imagined future.

Paper long abstract:

With the break-up of Yugoslavia, the music-poetic form of sevdalinka has attracted attention not just among general public but also among scholars and intellectuals. Its Bosnian or Bosniac heritage has been emphasised, but also its proliferation in the context of Yugoslav radio broadcasting has not been overlooked. In the 1990s sevdalinka has started to function as contested genre that simultaneously represented two contradictory ideological positions and two clashing visions of imagined future. On the one hand, in Bosniac nationalistic discourses sevdalinka became celebrated as national heritage, and on the other it was used in antinationalistic claims to promote the idea of hybrid culture and multicultural Bosnian past and future. In addition, for some (young) performers it has been particularly important to emphasize sevdalinka's urban character. This could be interpreted as an expression of the (post-)Yugoslav urbo-centric discourse, which with an aim to contradict the ideas of national separation often refocused attention to urban-rural distinction. This ethnographic paper thus aims to explore what kinds of images of past, present and future sevdalinka helped construct in two different post-Yugoslav countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia).

panel SPS002
Idealism, Utopia and (post)Yugoslav popular music