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Coca-Cola Socialism. Americanization of Yugoslav Culture in the Sixties

Book Launch
Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 5:30 pm

A book launch and roundtable conversation with the author, Radina Vučetić

The book is about the Americanization of Yugoslav culture and everyday life during the nineteen-sixties. After falling out with the Eastern bloc, Tito turned to the United States for support and inspiration. In the political sphere the distance between the two countries was carefully maintained, yet in the realms of culture and consumption the Yugoslav regime was definitely much more receptive to the American model. For Titoist Yugoslavia this tactic turned out to be beneficial, stabilising the regime internally and providing an image of openness in foreign policy.

Coca-Cola Socialism addresses the link between cultural diplomacy, culture, consumer society and politics. Its main argument is that both culture and everyday life modelled on the American way were a major source of legitimacy for the Yugoslav Communist Party, and a powerful weapon for both the USA and Yugoslavia in the Cold War battle for hearts and minds. Radina Vučetić explores how the Party used American culture in order to promote its own values and what life in this socialist and capitalist hybrid system looked like for ordinary people who lived in a country with communist ideology in a capitalist wrapping. Her book offers a careful reevaluation of the limits of appropriating the American dream and questions both an uncritical celebration of Yugoslavia’s openness and an exaggerated depiction of its authoritarianism

Dr. Radina Vučetić is an Associate Professor of the 20th century history at the Department of History, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. Her primary academic interest is in history of Yugoslavia, American history, Americanization, Cold War culture, art and politics, popular culture and everyday life in socialism, censorship, Second – Third World cultural encounters. She was the co-author of several thematic exhibitions and also published books Monopol na istinu. Partija, kultura i cenzura u Srbiji šezdesetih i sedamdesetih godina XX veka (A Monopoly on Truth: The Party, Culture and Censorship in Serbia in the 1960s and 1970s, Belgrade 2016), Koka-kola socijalizam. Amerikanizacija jugoslovenske popularne kulture šezdesetih godina XX veka (Coca-Cola Socialism. Americanization of Yugoslav Popular Culture in the 1960s, Belgrade, five editions: 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019), Evropa na Kalemegdanu. “Cvijeta Zuzorić“ i kulturni život Beograda 1918-1941 (Europe on Kalemegdan. “Cvijeta Zuzorić” and Cultural Life in Belgrade 1918-1941, Belgrade 2003, 2018), Vreme kada je narod govorio: Odjeci i reagovanja u Politici, 1988-1991 (co-author with Aljoša Mimica) (A Time When the People Spoke: “Echoes and Reactions“ in Politika 1988-1991, Belgrade 2008), and numerous book chapters and journal articles on different topics on Yugoslav history.

Reception after the talk is sponsored by CEU Press