Yugoslavia on Instagram: The (Re)Construction of a Collective Identity from the Past

    • EUPE_BRUGES_2019
    • Presentation speakers
      • Elisabetta Zurovac, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy
      • Giovanni Boccia Artieri, University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy


    Social media represent a space that allows users to collect memories and, by sharing them, to connect with those who think and feel the same about the past. In this paper we analyze the intergenerational case of Jugonostalgija on Instagram where users are rebuilding a socio-cultural yugoslav sphere in a tension among ‘culture of nostalgia’ and ‘nostalgic culture’ (Velikonja 2008), playing different languages and aesthetics, producing content that refer to the same cultural references of the past. This allows them to respond to the need of reaffirming a common ‘we sense’, a feeling of belonging above the borders, prohibited by the national states. By a qualitative visual content analysis (Julien 2008) of 52 Instagram accounts related to Yugoslavia, we observed the generational relation between media and time in Jugonostalgija. The findings of this work allowed us to better understand the role of images in this peculiar collective identity (re)construction. From this meeting between different generations emerges a Yugoslavia which is multifaceted and plural in its expressions. It responds in different ways to the need of remembering ‘how we were’ and to reaffirm as fundamental for individual identities that common feeling of belonging, that made that ‘us’ a people. In our case study we observed at the same time ‘Last Yugoslavs’ (Palmberger 2016) sharing songs they loved remembering their lost home and younger generations sharing their UGC in order to connect with other jugos online beyond national border. At least, on this part of the internet where ‘brotherhood and unity’ are reinforced by concatenations of memes, by digital archives of a denied collective memory (Ugrešić 1996) preserved by mainstream media and by the ultimate collective desire to forget the war.