Marketing the Socialist Country: Tourism and Yugoslav Identity, 1950-1991


Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies


Department of History


This project offers a new perspective on socialist Yugoslavia’s integrative and disintegrative social forces by analyzing the institutional development of the tourist industry in close conjunction with the rich symbolic properties of its marketing propaganda. The competitive international tourism market required the creation of a “product” that was unified, yet unique; diverse, but not uncomfortably complex. The project argues that the tourist industry and its propaganda allowed Yugoslavia to market both consumer pleasures and “socialist values” to domestic travelers and, increasingly, to foreign guests. This undertaking was not without its tensions and pressures, however, especially where economic concerns intersected with ethnic or national politics. This analysis of the tourist industry integrates discussion of both the real and the symbolic ways in which the tourist industry and the propaganda it produced contained the potential alternately to knit Yugoslavs together and to wrench them apart.