Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Special Issue

The Potential of Popular Culture for the Creation of Left Populism in Serbia: The Case of the Hip-Hop Collective “The Bombs of the Nineties”

  • Jovana Papović,
  • Astrea Pejović
The focus of this article is to highlight the potential of popular culture to become an agent of leftist populist politics in contemporary Serbia. The authors observe the hip-hop collective “The Bombs of the Nineties”, whose music tackles topics from recent history, and who subvert the fashion style of the 1990s “Dizel” subculture, which is often connected to Serbian nationalism and war profiteering. The paper analyses the relationships “The Bombs of the Nineties” create between their practices, class warfare and leftist discourses, aiming to show the potentials and threats those relationships introduce. Following Ernesto Laclau’s understanding of populism as a “hegemonic political articulation of demands”, we assume that “The Bombs of the Nineties” could represent a solid populist political agent in that they attempt to reveal and draw attention to the “unfulfilled demands” of disempowered Serbian youth. On the other hand, the counter-intuitive merge of ideologies they operate, and the limited impact of their strategies on the official politics could be an obstacle to the expansion of their message.