Lecture by Tanja Petrovich, Institute for Culture and Memory Studies, Slovenia
“Military Service in Socialist Yugoslavia: Making Sense of (Post)Yugoslav Masculinity.”
This lecture is part of GSAH’s “Rethinking State Socialism” speaker series organized by Dr. Nikolary Karkov.
The lecture discusses the meaning of memories of the gendered, collective national experience of mandatory military service in socialist Yugoslavia. These memories still connect several generations of men – the same men who in the 1990s more or less actively participated in the violent destruction of the country they had served. Irrespective of their personal and professional trajectories, for most of former recruits their army service experience remains important and meaningful. How does the aftermath of national trauma reveal dimensions of this militarized, yet fractured, contested, impassioned, and even sentimental masculinity? How did selves, shaped by the homogenous, socially cohesive experiences in a hierarchical military, survive the centrifugal forces of civil war? How are these memories incorporated into broader narratives through which Yugoslavia is historicized? What light they shed on the relationship between manhood, violence and nationhood? How do they complicate our understanding of state socialism and its disciplinary mechanisms, and what lessons do they hold for the future?