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The book explores how the compulsory service for young men in the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) created bonds across ethnic, religious, and social lines. These bonds persisted even after the horrific violence of the 1990s, in which many of these men found themselves on opposite sides of the front lines. In Utopia of the Uniform, Tanja Petrović draws on memories and material effects of dozens of JNA conscripts to show how their experience of military service points to futures, forms of collectivity, and relations between the state and the individual different from those that prevailed in the post-Yugoslav reality. Petrović argues that the power of repetitive, ritualized, and performative practices that constituted military service in the JNA provided a framework for drastically different men to live together and befriend each other. While Petrović and her interlocutors do not idealize the JNA, they acknowledge its capacity to create interpersonal relationships and affective bonds that brought the key political ideas of collectivity, solidarity, egalitarianism, education, and comradeship into being.
Dr Tanja Petrović is Head of the Institute of Culture and Memory Studies, Research Centre of Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. She is the author and editor of several books and a number of articles and essays in the fields of anthropology of post-socialism, memory studies, masculinity, gender history, heritage studies, linguistic anthropology, and labour history. Amongst them are her monographs Yuropa: Jugoslovensko nasleđe i politike budućnosti u postjugoslovenskim društvima (Yuropa: Yugoslav Legacy and Politics of Future in Post-Yugoslav Societies, Fabrika knjiga 2012), and Srbija i njen jug: Južnjački dijalekti između jezika, kulture i politike (Serbia and its South: Southern Dialects between Language, Culture and Politics, Fabrika knjiga 2015) and edited volumes Mirroring Europe: Ideas of Europe in Europeanization in Balkan Societies (Brill Publishing 2014) and Affect’s social lives: post-Yugoslav reflections (Založba ZRC, ZRC SAZU 2023)
Dr Tanja Petrović (author), Head of the Institute of Culture and Memory Studies, Research Centre of Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Dr Elena Stavrevska, University of Bristol
Dr Jessie Barton-Hronesova, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
Dr Nicholas Lackenby, UCL Anthropology
Dr Jelena Ćalić, UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies
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