The Economy of Nostalgia: Communist Pathos Between Politics and Advertisement

  • Tanja Zimmermann
Part of the Modernity, Memory and Identity in South-East Europe book series (MOMEIDSEE)


After the iconoclastic destruction of statues of communist leaders in the countries of the Eastern Bloc and the former Yugoslavia following the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and the dissolution of the Communist system, Stalin and Tito became symbols of a former imperial power and glory. At the same time, both leaders were detached from the negative part of history and embedded into its positive pole—as heros. They are no longer real historical figures but pathos formulas representing fathers of the Russian and the transnational Yugoslav nations who contributed to the glory of their homelands. The use of their images resembles the use of images in advertising, which can be detached from their original meaning in order to evoke positve connotations. Nostalgia is thus not an approach to memories of the past or to an ideal, utopic future, but a creative means of promoting new political and social ideas in the present, an activity whose aims are in contrast with the forms used to express it.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanja Zimmermann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Art HistoryUniversity of LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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