Yugoslavia as World History: The Political Economy of Self-Managed Art

Branislav Jakovljević’s study on performance and self-management in Yugoslavia and Armin Medosch’s research on New Tendencies and post-Fordism share a number of analytical frameworks that the review argues partake in a broader shift towards political economy as a key framework for art historical inquiry. This shift elicits what could once again be called a world-historical perspective: both of these books anchor their narratives in post-war Yugoslavia but only in order to show that the telling of the story of Yugoslav art requires the telling of the story of the world, a story that is not simply an instance of global or transnational (art) history. Instead, these accounts affirm a certain political teleology; they (re)turn to Yugoslavia to recall something that is lost, a ruptural, future-bound history that never saw its future, and whose interrupted course they historicize, offering a recourse to historical understanding as a step towards a new strategy of resistance.

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