June 20, 2018
32 illus.
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Coca-Cola Socialism

Americanization of Yugoslav Culture in the Sixties

This book is about the Americanization of Yugoslav culture and everyday life during the nineteen-sixties. After falling out with the Eastern bloc, Tito turned to the United States for support and inspiration. In the political sphere the distance between the two countries was carefully maintained, yet in the realms of culture and consumption the Yugoslav regime was definitely much more receptive to the American model. For Titoist Yugoslavia this tactic turned out to be beneficial, stabilising the regime internally and providing an image of openness in foreign policy.

Coca-Cola Socialism addresses the link between cultural diplomacy, culture, consumer society and politics. Its main argument is that both culture and everyday life modelled on the American way were a major source of legitimacy for the Yugoslav Communist Party, and a powerful weapon for both USA and Yugoslavia in the Cold War battle for hearts and minds.

Radina Vučetić explores how the Party used American culture in order to promote its own values and what life in this socialist and capitalist hybrid system looked like for ordinary people who lived in a country with communist ideology in a capitalist wrapping. Her book offers a careful reevaluation of the limits of appropriating the American dream and questions both an uncritical celebration of Yugoslavia's openness and an exaggerated depiction of its authoritarianism.

About the Authors

Radina Vučetić is Associate Professor at the General Modern History Department of History at the University of Belgrade. John K. Cox is professor at North Dakota State University in Fargo.


"The red thread of Vučetić's argument is the metaphor of the Roman god Janus' double-face which she uses to describe Yugoslav positioning in-between the Blocs – looking at both sides, showing to each a different facet of itself, saying 'no' to both while never uttering an explicit 'yes'. Consequently, the relatively unrestrained import of American cultural products to Yugoslavia proved to be a win-win situation for both regimes. Washington would happily watch the distance between Tito and other socialist leaders steadily increase, whereas Yugoslav communists would foster Yugoslav population's sense of freedom and superiority over other socialist societies, but also strengthen the regime's desired external image of 'socialism with a human face'. This pattern was applied with contextual specificities in such diverse spheres of culture as film production, contemporary art, theatre, the jazz and rock music scenes, television and comics, eventually oxymoronically producing a decidedly Americanized socialist youth. Through its symbiosis of cultural, diplomatic and history of everyday life, this book provides a very important contribution not just to historiography of socialist Yugoslavia and Yugoslav-American relations, but more generally offers a welcome enrichment for the research on cultural diplomacy and Cold War Studies, further advancing the scholarly 'thirding' of Cold War dichotomies."—KULT_online


"In this book Radina Vučetić shows very vividly how one can understand the different trends of "appropriation" of certain "American"/"Western" trends by taking a closer look at certain fields of cultural and social life: cinema and films, jazz and rock'n'roll, Pop-Art and Abstract expressionism, life-style and fashion as well as consumption. But she also offers a careful reevaluation of the limits of "appropriating" the "American dream." Capitalism and democracy was never seen as compatible with socialism, Yugoslavia remained a very much ideologically driven socialist society.
This books is very successful in opening very original insights into both: the appropriation and admiration of "American culture," on the one hand, and the variness and even antagonism against it, on the other"—Eric Gordy

9789633862001 : coca-cola-socialism-vu-eti-cox
362 Pages
$100.00 USD
9786155225697 : coca-cola-socialism-vu-eti-cox
Paperback / softback
March 31, 2023
$30.95 USD

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