#014 – Italian Pop Culture in Yugoslavia: Transfers and Encounters across the Adriatic, 1950s-1960s

with Francesca Rolandi


Cover of  “Arena – Yugoslav magazine of cinema, television and theatre” featuring the Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, 07.06.1959.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Socialist Yugoslavia experienced an opening up to cultural products from Western Europe and the United States. Due to geographic proximity, Italian pop culture propagated by television, cinema, radio and magazines played a key role in the emergence of consumerism on the other side of the Adriatic Sea, prompting transfers, appropriations, and collaborations. In this episode, we discuss several domains related to this phenomenon such as cross-border shopping, music and cinema. The transnational dimension including Italy, Yugoslavia and beyond, offers an occasion for reflecting on the intersections of cultural, social, and diplomatic history during the Cold War.​

Francesca Rolandi obtained a Ph.D. degree in Slavic Studies at the University of Turin. She is the author of “Con ventiquattromila baci. L’influenza della cultura di massa italiana in Jugoslavia (1955-1965)”, a monograph about the influence of Italian popular culture on Yugoslavia. Francesca is currently working on a project related to the Adriatic route of East European asylum seekers in Cold War Europe. She feels at home in the former Yugoslavia and regards pop culture as a meaningful perspective to investigate historical processes.

To cite this episode: Rolandi, Francesca; Guidi, Andreas (2017): Italian pop culture in Yugoslavia: Transfers and encounters across the Adriatic, 1950s-1960s, The Southeast Passage #014, 12.01.2017, http://thesoutheastpassage.com/podcast/rolandi-italian-pop-culture-yugoslavia-1950s-1960s


Further reading:

Calic, Marie-Janine (2013): Istorija Jugoslavije u 20. veku. Beograd: Klio.

Dimitrijević, Branislav (2016): Potrošeni socijalizam. Kultura, konzumerizam i društvena imaginacija u Jugoslaviji (1950-1974). Beograd: Fabrika knjiga.

Duda, Igor (2010): Pronađeno blagostanje. Svakodnevni život i potrošačka kultura u Hrvatskoj 1970-ih i 1980-ih. Zagreb: Srednja Europa.

Grandits, Hannes; Taylor, Karin (Eds.) (2010): Yugoslavia’s sunny side. A history of tourism in socialism (1950s-1980s). Budapest, New York: Central European University Press.

Lampe, John R. (1996): Yugoslavia as history. Twice there was a country. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Luthar, Breda; Pušnik, Maruša (Eds.) (2010): Remembering Utopia. The culture of everyday life in Socialist Yugoslavia. Washington: New Academia Publishing.

Panić, Ana; Dobrivojević, Ivana; Duda, Igor; Mihelj, Sabina (2014): Nikad im bolje nije bilo? Modernizacija svakodnevnog života u socijalističkoj Jugoslaviji. Beograd: Muzej istorije Jugoslavije.

Patterson, Patrick H. (2012): Bought & sold. Living and losing the good life in socialist Yugoslavia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Rolandi, Francesca (2015): A filter for Western cultural products. The influence of Italian popular culture on Yugoslavia 1955-1965. In Simo Mikkonen, Pia Koivunen (Eds.): Beyond the divide. Entangled histories of Cold War Europe. New York, Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 277–294.

Rolandi, Francesca (forthcoming): Yugoslavia looking westward. Transnational consumer contact with Italy during the 1960s. In Dijana Jelača, Maša Kolanović, Danijela Lugarić (Eds.): Cultural life of capitalism in Yugoslavia. (Post)Socialism and its Other. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Vucetic, Radina (2012): Koka-kola socijalizam. Amerikanizacija jugoslovenske popularne kulture sezdesetih godina XX veka. Beograd: Sluzbeni Glasnik.

Vuletic, Dean (2008): Generation Number One. Politics and popular music in Yugoslavia in the 1950s. In Nationalities Papers 36 (5), pp. 861–879.

Advertisement of the Italian textile brand Leacril in the magazine “Svijet”

Back cover of the magazine “Ilustrovana politika” featuring the Italian singer Rocco Granata, author of the popular song “Marina”