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Yugoslavia's Sunny Side

A History of Tourism in Socialism (1950s–1980s)

Edited by Hannes Grandits, Karin Taylor

Publication Year: 2010

Despite the central role of tourism in the political making of the Yugoslav socialist state after WWII and in everyday life, the topic has remained neglected as an object of historical research, which has tended to dwell on war and “ethnic” conflict in the past two decades. For many former citizens of Yugoslavia, however, memories of holidaymaking, as well as tourism as a means of livelihood, today evoke a sense of the “good life” people enjoyed before the economy, and subsequently the country, fell apart. Undertakes a critical analysis of the history of domestic tourism in Yugoslavia under Commumism. The story evolved from the popularization of tourism and holidaymaking among Yugoslav citizens in the 1950s and 1960s to the consumer practices of the 1970s and 1980s. It reviews tourism as a political, economic and social project of the Yugoslav federal state, and as a crucial field of social integration. The book investigates how socialist and Yugoslav ideologies aimed to turn workers into consumers of “purposeful” leisure, and how these ideas were set against actual practices of recreation and holidaymaking.

Published by: Central European University Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. vii

First of all, many thanks to the contributors of this volume who provided us in their essays with rich empirical evidence and illuminating analyses of various aspects of Yugoslav tourism development between the 1950s and 1980s. It was a pleasure to collaborate during our workshop...

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Preface: Some Contexts for Yugoslav Tourism History

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pp. ix-xxii

A quarter of a century ago an elderly lady of my acquaintance, who had spent most of her life in a deeply provincial small town in northern England, used regularly to holiday in Yugoslavia. Her politics were unthinkingly of the Right: she was a stalwart supporter of the British Conservative Party and of Margaret Thatcher, and after a lifetime of...

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Tourism and the Making of Socialist Yugoslavia; An Introduction

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pp. 1-30

The song More, More (“The sea, the sea”)1 by Croatian rock musician Darko Rundek evokes the longings of a family preparing for their seaside summer holiday. Each year they draw up a list of things to take with them weeks before setting off for the Adriatic:...

Part I. “Holidays on Command”

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pp. 31-68

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Workers into Tourists: Entitlements, Desires, and the Realities of Social Tourism under Yugoslav Socialism

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pp. 31-68

In 1984, the newspapers in Yugoslavia complained about the economic crisis and the decline in living standards, describing the tough life of the workers and their struggle to retain old entitlements and traditions, such as going on holidays. To support their understanding of...

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From Comrades to Consumers: Holidays, Leisure Time, and Ideology in Communist Yugoslavia

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pp. 69-105

What to read on holiday? This was a question faced by many young holiday makers in Croatia in the summer of 1958. One publishing company aimed to provide all the entertainment and reading materials a young person could need in its annual holiday magazine. Among the typical puzzles, interesting information about the planets and space...

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The Yugoslav Road to International Tourism: Opening, Decentralization, and Propaganda in the Early 1950s

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pp. 107-138

The study of Yugoslav tourism from a historical perspective would be incomplete without a more systematic glance at the issue of foreign tourism. Several factors call for such analysis. The development of foreign tourism in Yugoslavia preceded that of other socialist regimes by a decade and outdistanced them in terms of revenue generated by...

Part II. Tourism and the “Yugoslav Dream”

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Travelling to the Birthplace of “the Greatest Son of Yugoslav Nations”: The Construction of Kumrovec as a Political Tourism Destination

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pp. 141-169

“The small village of Kumrovec where Tito was born has become a favorite excursion destination for Yugoslavs and many guests from abroad who wish to see Josip Broz’s native home, his native house, and the milieu in which he spent his childhood.”2 This is how a socialistera...

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My Own Vikendica: Holiday Cottages as Idyll and Investment

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pp. 171-209

Josip Broz Tito had a holiday cottage, so did Tonči the mechanic. Tito enjoyed a chic home in landscaped gardens on an Adriatic island reserved for the president. Tonči’s hillside cabin in a village close to Zagreb had a photograph of Tito on one wall and a picture of the...

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Highways of Desire: Cross-Border Shopping in Former Yugoslavia,1960s–1980s

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pp. 211-237

Although the violent breakup of socialist Yugoslavia continues to cast a shadow on people’s memories of the former country, some “sunnier” aspects of daily life during socialism seem to resist historical amnesia. One of these is the ritual of shopping abroad, which emerges as an...

Part III: Tourism Economies in Transformation

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Fishing for Tourists: Tourism and Household Enterprise in Biograd na Moru

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pp. 241-277

The island of Mana in the Kornati archipelago is crowned by an artificial ruin: a stone archway built for a 1950s film production. Here, Austrian actress Maria Schell played a Mediterranean damsel in a motion picture filmed on the Adriatic coast in 1959.1 The film turned out to be insignificant, but the production was crucial for a local man...

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Youth Labor Action (Omladinska radna akcija, ORA) as Ideological Holiday-Making

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pp. 279-302

Youth labor brigades became a key tool in the development of Yugoslav communist ideology. The first “youth labor action” (Omladinska radna akcija, ORA) was organized during the Second World War in 1942,1 and the last in Banja Luka in 1990. Between 1942 and 1990,...

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What To Do at the Weekend?Leisure for Happy Consumers, Refreshed Workers, and Good Citizens

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pp. 303-334

One of the films presented at the 15th National Film Festival in Pula tackled the subject of family problems in contemporary urban life, albeit in an entertaining manner. A couple with two sons divorce. The husband, a company manager with close links to the authorities, marries a young wife, has a pleasant, well-furnished house, a new car, and...

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Yugoslav Unity and Olympic Ideology at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympic Games

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pp. 335-363

On 8 February 1984, a sellout crowd of fifty thousand spectators filled Sarajevo’s Koševo Stadium for the opening ceremony of the XIVth Winter Olympic Games, during which they were entertained by gymnasts, folk dancers, and members of the Yugoslav People’s Army band.2 On the same day, the Museum of the XIVth Winter Olympic Games...


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Yugoslavia as It Once Was What Tourism and Leisure Meant for the History of the Socialist Federation

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pp. 367-402

Half-forgotten now in the aftermath of the harrowing wars of the 1990s is the old image of Yugoslavia: a kinder, gentler implementation of socialist rule that managed to keep its citizens tolerably content, often even happy, and to welcome, impress, and even inspire visitors from...

List of Contributors

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pp. 403-406


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pp. 407-415

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9786155211874
Print-ISBN-13: 9789639776692

Page Count: 439
Publication Year: 2010