Etnoantropološki Problemi (2016-02-01)

A new life on the small screen and around it: The beginnings of television in socialist Yugoslavia (1955–1970)

  • Ildiko Erdei

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 2


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Ever since television became institutionalized in socialist Yugoslavia in the late 1950’s, it was closely associated with the idea of a „new life“ in socialist society. As a new technology, as a modern object in the socialist household, and as a medium which enabled the transmission of desirable content for creating socialist citizens and shaping models of socialist „culturality“ and entertainment, television represents a prime terrain for studying the transformations of culture and society in the latter half of the 20th century in Yugoslavia, as well as in the rest of Europe and the world. The paper is mostly based a number of key sources, memoirs, which speak of the history of television in Yugoslavia from the point of view of creators and a wider circle of experts who were involved in it. In this paper I will attempt to shed some light on the dynamics of the process of introducing television into Yugoslavian society, the perplexities, confusions and tensions which this new technology – simultaneously the product and the mediator of modernity – brought with it. Special attention is given to the relationship between television as technology and television as a medium of mass communication, which permanently marked the beginnings of television in Yugoslavia with the tension between „tech“ and „programming“, as well as to the role of television in everyday life.