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Bought and SoldLiving and Losing the Good Life in Socialist Yugoslavia$
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Patrick Hyder Patterson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450044

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450044.001.0001

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Fearing It

Fearing It

The Values of Marxism and the Contradictions of Consumerism

(p.148) 4 Fearing It
Bought and Sold

Patrick Hyder Patterson

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the mainstream Marxist critique of the contradictions of consumerism in Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia was heading toward the creation of a capitalist-style “consumer society” by the late 1960s. However, the move toward consumerism did not go unchallenged. Instead, consumer culture and the advertising and marketing that propelled it encountered, early on, staunch and ardent resistance. This chapter considers the place of Marxism in issues surrounding commercial promotion and its role in fashioning popular culture. In particular, it analyzes the arguments of Marxist social critics that consumerism and market culture were among the most important “internal enemies” of Yugoslav socialism. It also discusses Marxist criticisms of the so-called Homo consumens and critics' sustained rhetorical campaign against consumerism. It shows that Yugoslavia's distinctive consumer culture and the commercial promotion that sustained it gave rise to a different sort of egalitarianism based on participation in a new Yugoslav Dream, one rooted in consumption.

Keywords:   consumerism, Yugoslavia, consumer society, consumer culture, advertising, Marxism, commercial promotion, market culture, Yugoslav Dream, consumption

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