Towards an affective history of Yugoslavia
The article discusses the necessity for the diversification of (hi)stories of Yugoslavia, arguing for the importance of incorporating the affects and experiences of Yugoslavia’s citizens into the historical narratives. Acknowledging the difficulties emerging form the fact that what is articulated as historical narrative is still part of the experience for millions of citizens of post-Yugoslav societies, the article reflects upon the potential for and obstacles to an affective history of socialist Yugoslavia through the lens borrowed from German sociologist Georg Simmel. It particularly refers to - and makes use of - two sets of Simmel’s ideas. The first concerns the nature of material and the way we are making a story out of it - more precisely, the relationship between history and experience, life and representation. The second is about the perspective from which we look at, approach, and synthesize this material. Simmel’s reflections on history and form offer a very useful tool to look at the Yugoslav case and also help de-essentialize and normalize Yugoslav history, making the anxieties that characterize it part of a much broader discussion about history, its nature, and its internal contradictions.
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