The power of music to bring people across newly established national borders even during the ethnic conflict and dissolution of socialist Yugoslavia has been particularly appealing to scholars. Reflecting on the complex relationship between the affective, the aural, and the political, this issue points out the limits of existing interpretative discourses of music and memory in post-Yugoslav spaces, which underplay the lived intensity of the sensory experiences, emotional investment, and the affective technologies of remembering the past. The authors here argue that the emphasis on the social and political production of affect embedded in the experience of music might be beneficial for shedding new light on memory politics in a post-Yugoslav context. Examining why and how music matters for post-Yugoslav memory practices, the articles in this issue strive to fashion new readings that go beyond the dichotomies commonly drawn between political/nostalgic, commercial/engaged, and escapist/emancipatory. The issue thus argues that the sensorial politics of music can serve as a conceptual framework that provides an important base for new theorizations of Yugoslav cultural memories, which is done by focusing on the politics of sentimentalism and the politics of joy. Accordingly, the goal of this issue is to raise productive questions that resonate with a multiplicity of interpretational and theoretical dilemmas and gaps by mobilizing the tools of affect theory primarily to open a space and spur further criticism and theory.
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As Steve Goodman (2010) and Suzanne Cusick (2008) warn in their valuable studies affect is also manipulated as a tool for controlling lives exactly in the way it claims to bring a ‘promise’ in the neoliberal corporative world. I would warn about another important aspect of romantizing affect namely a tendency of asigning inherent authenticity to affect: understanding affective economies in music as authentic and moral which is in the core of its promise for (any kind of) potentiality (Hofman 2015b).