Stairway to Hell: The Yugoslav Rock Scene and Youth during the Crisis Decade of 1981–1991

In: East Central Europe
Ljubica Spaskovska
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The article discusses the role of the Yugoslav rock/punk scene in late socialism and the youth as its main consumer and producer, with an emphasis on the responses to the 'apocalyptic' shifts in the socio-political arena, generally channeled through various liberal, anti-war, and antinationalist initiatives and campaigns. Based on interviews and primary material from the 1980s, the text closely analyses the context of the last Yugoslav decade, the all-encompassing reality and discourse of crisis, as related to the public exposure and responses of the youth and the music circles. The article problematizes the fine line between what was articulated or misinterpreted as anti-system vs. anti-Yugoslav, by arguing that, while consciously channeling rebellious voices directed against the system, the majority of rock artists and urban youth milieus stood and/or actively campaigned against the violence and the dissolution of the state.

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