by Tanja Petrovic
Duke University Press, 2024
Paper: 978-1-4780-2568-9 | eISBN: 978-1-4780-2780-5 | Cloth: 978-1-4780-2094-3
Library of Congress Classification UB345.Y8P487 2024

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
The compulsory service for young men in the Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) created bonds across ethnic, religious, and social lines. These bonds persisted even after the horrific violence of the 1990s, in which many of these men found themselves on opposite sides of the front lines. In Utopia of the Uniform, Tanja Petrović draws on memories and material effects of dozens of JNA conscripts to show how their experience of military service points to futures, forms of collectivity, and relations between the state and the individual different from those that prevailed in the post-Yugoslav reality. Petrović argues that the power of repetitive, ritualized, and performative practices that constituted military service in the JNA provided a framework for drastically different men to live together and befriend each other. While Petrović and her interlocutors do not idealize the JNA, they acknowledge its capacity to create interpersonal relationships and affective bonds that brought the key political ideas of collectivity, solidarity, egalitarianism, education, and comradeship into being.

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