The last Yugoslav generation

The rethinking of youth politics and cultures in late socialism

By Ljubica Spaskovska

The last Yugoslav generation


  • Hardcover
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-0632-2
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £23.50
  • Published Date: November 2019
  • BIC Category: Sociology, Sociology, Political ideologies, Social groups, Politics & government, Socialism & left-of-centre democratic ideologies, POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, HISTORY / Social History, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Communism, Post-Communism & Socialism, Humanities / 20th century history: c 1900 to c 2000, Society & social sciences / Sociology, Social Groups, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, Society & social sciences / Socialism & left-of-centre democratic ideologies


This promising addition to the growing literature on the history of late socialism charts the development of youth culture and politics in socialist Yugoslavia, focusing on the 1980s. Rather than examining the 1980s as a mere prelude to the violent collapse of the country in the 1990s, the book recovers the multiplicity of political visions and cultural developments that evolved at the time and that have been largely forgotten in subsequent discussion. The youth of this generation, the author convincingly argues, sought to rearticulate the Yugoslav socialist framework in order to reinvigorate it and 'democratise' it, rather than destroy it altogether.


'While the official statistics serve to emphasize the nature of crisis, as well as act as indicators of intergenerational changes of opinion in the YSFR, it is the wide range of interviews that make the book a vivid and fascinating portrait of growing up in a state that ceased to exist over a quarter of a century ago. Spaskovska utilises a wide ranging dramatis personae of the generation, each with a different series of anecdotes that provide a tableaux of the blurred lines between the official political youth organisations and the youthful dissidence of alternative Yugoslav culture. A diversity of voices are heard: from radio DJs fined for playing Laibach records, to early Slovene feminist and LGBT activists, to young JNA officers, all holding different views on political and cultural issues of the decade, some even regretting their youthful rebellion in retrospect.'
Benjamin Stephens

'This book makes an essential contribution to the history of the break-up of Yugoslavia and indeed the history of late Cold War Europe.'
Catherine Baker, University of Hull, Europe-Asia Studies

'Ljubica Spaskovska's book introduces an innovative and until now rarely explored, generational approach to the complexities of the late Yugoslav socialism of the 1980s.'
Southeastern Europe


Introduction:Revisiting the 1980s through a generation lens
1. 'Pockets of freedom' - the youth sphere and its spaces of negotiation and dissent
2. Comrades, I don't believe you! - youth culture and the rethinking of historical legacies
3. The 'phantom of liberty' - new youth activism
4. The eighty-eighters - the arena of youth politics and the break-up of Yugoslavia
Conclusion: Rethinking youth politics and cultures in late socialist Yugoslavia
Select bibliography


Ljubica Spaskovska is Lecturer in European History at the University of Exeter

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