The Silent Republic: Popular Music and Nationalism in Socialist Croatia
Title: The Silent Republic: Popular Music and Nationalism in Socialist Croatia
Author: VULETIC, Dean
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2011/20
This paper explores the development of popular music and its relationship to the political situation in Croatia and Yugoslavia from 1945 to 1991, and how global musical trends were used to construct and reinvent Croatian and Yugoslav cultural and political identities. It begins with a discussion of the suppression of patriotic music in the early decades of socialist Yugoslavia, when the regime attempted to create a supranational culture that would unify Yugoslavia’s constituent nations. It then analyses the national cultural revival in Croatia in the late 1960s that prompted a political movement known as the Croatian Spring, when the pop singer Vice Vukov incorporated Croatian patriotic themes into his songs. In the years following the crushing of the Croatian Spring in 1971, Croatian nationalism was again suppressed in politics and music, and because of this stifling of political opposition Croatia was dubbed “the silent republic.” For the rest of the 1970s the political function of pop and rock music was reflected in its glorification of Yugoslavia and its leader, Josip Broz Tito. However, after the death of Tito in 1980, New Wave rock bands such as Prljavo kazalište began to criticise aspects of the Yugoslav system and indicated a new turn towards nationalist politics in Croatia. This study concludes with a dicussion of popular music and nationalism in Croatia from 1990 to 1991, and it highlights the dilemma that Croatia’s liberal democracy has since faced in dealing with the phenomenon of extreme nationalist music, especially that performed by the singer Thompson.
Subject: Croatia; Yugoslavia; popular music; nationalism; socialism
Type of Access: openAccess