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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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Fighting It

Fighting It

New Left Attacks on the Consumerist Establishment and the Yugoslav Dream

(p.225) 6 Fighting It
Bought and Sold

Patrick Hyder Patterson

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the unorthodox socialist critique of consumer culture developed by a group of revisionist Marxists skeptical of—and even openly antagonistic toward—the market-oriented premises (and promises) of self-management socialism in Yugoslavia. More specifically, it considers the disapproval that issued continually from a circle of critics aligned with Praxis, a sociologically oriented journal that functioned as a major outlet for left-wing Marxist-humanist thought. The chapter first discusses the Praxis critique of capitalism, and especially consumerism and its hedonistic-utilitarian culture. It then considers the journal's position regarding the threat of consumerism to socialism, with particular emphasis on its critique of market culture and self-management. It also assesses the implications of the New Left critique of consumerism and the Praxisrevisionists' indictment of consumer society, which it argues could also be seen as a challenge to the fundamental direction of Yugoslav society and the legitimacy of those in power.

Keywords:   consumer culture, self-management, socialism, Yugoslavia, Praxis, capitalism, consumerism, market culture, New Left, consumer society

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