Accepted paper:

Politics of love in the pop music concerts in post-Yugoslav space: the case of Bijelo Dugme


Ana Petrov (University of Banja Luka)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I explore how the supposedly private feelings of love are transformed into a ‘public matter’ through the pop music concerts in post-Yugoslav space. My case study will be the concerts of the group Bijelo dugme.

Paper long abstract:

After the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991 the musicians from the former country started giving concerts in the new post-Yugoslav spaces, provoking divergent reverberations in the public sphere, as well as intensive emotional reactions of the participants of the events. Drawing on Sara Ahmed's discussions of 'collective feelings' and the argument that emotions are not a private matter, I argue that the concerts' spaces are channels for 'emotions work' to reconnect collectives. My case study will be the concerts of the group Bijelo dugme. I will consider the ways this group has been one of the symbols of the former Yugoslavia, both in the Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav period. I will discuss political implications of enjoyment in the concerts, by showing how they engage in producing of multifarious emotional reactions concerning the sentimental remembrance of the past, such as a nostalgic narrative according to which the music has been a continuation of the 'perfect past' in Yugoslavia. Performing the songs form the Yugoslav era, these concerts appear to be platforms for recycling the old cultural products, giving them new meanings in the new post-Yugoslav context. This process arouses feelings purportedly on the level on the individual, but the concert audience forms as a material body in the public sphere, and their emotions are formed on the level of this body. In conclusion, I will also pose the question of the boundaries between the private body of the performer/concert-goer and the public body.

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