Post-Communist Nostalgia

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Maria Todorova, Zsuzsa Gille
Berghahn Books, 2012 - History - 299 pages
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Although the end of the Cold War was greeted with great enthusiasm by people in the East and the West, the ensuing social and especially economic changes did not always result in the hoped-for improvements in people's lives. This led to widespread disillusionment that can be observed today all across Eastern Europe. Not simply a longing for security, stability, and prosperity, this nostalgia is also a sense of loss regarding a specific form of sociability. Even some of those who opposed communism express a desire to invest their new lives with renewed meaning and dignity. Among the younger generation, it surfaces as a tentative yet growing curiosity about the recent past. In this volume scholars from multiple disciplines explore the various fascinating aspects of this nostalgic turn by analyzing the impact of generational clusters, the rural-urban divide, gender differences, and political orientation. They argue persuasively that this nostalgia should not be seen as a wish to restore the past, as it has otherwise been understood, but instead it should be recognized as part of a more complex healing process and an attempt to come to terms both with the communist era as well as the new inequalities of the post-communist era.

 

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Contents

From Utopia to Propaganda and Back
1
Part I Rupture and the Economies of Nostalgia
15
Nostalgic Eastern Europe as Postimperial Mania
17
Socialist Nostalgia and Neoliberalism in Bulgaria
29
Communist Nostalgia for Communism in the Socialist Humanist Brigadier Movement
46
Chapter 4 Nostalgia for the JNA? Remembering the Army in the Former Yugoslavia
61
History Teachers and the NationState in Post1989 Bulgaria
82
Albanian Memories of Socialism after the War in Kosovo
96
Irony as Countermemory in PostSocialist Romania
155
On the Social Life of Socialism
177
Nostalgia and the Politics of Authenticity in PostSocialist Hungary
190
Aleksandr Melikhovs Red Zion
215
Being Bosnian by Remembering Tito
227
Artistic Discourse in Hungary in the 1990s
244
PostCommunist German Films of the 1990s
263
Postscript
278

Nostalgic Directions in PostCommunist Romania
113
Part II Nostalgic Realms in Word Sound and Screen
127
Music Memory and Mythology in Bulgaria 19902005
129
Notes on Contributors
290
Index
295
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About the author (2012)

Maria Todorova is Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her publications include Bones of Contention: The Living Archive of Vasil Levski and the Making of Bulgaria's National Hero (2006), Balkan Identities: Nation and Memory (2004), Imagining the Balkans (1997), Balkan Family Structure and the European Pattern: Demographic Developments in Ottoman Bulgaria (1993).

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