Special issue :On Populist Pop Culture: Ethno as the Contemporary Political Ideology in Serbia

This study attempts to shift the debate of the contemporary facets of populist ideologies from the realm of institutional politics to the realm of everyday life, popular culture, media and “invented traditions”. My intention is to demonstrate how these realms generate new sources and voices of populism, often downplayed in the academic debates on the subject. The paper stems from comprehensive research on discourses of identity (re)construction in post-Yugoslav Serbia as communicated in pop-cultural media forms (specifically, music videos of all genres), in which I used a sample of 4733 music videos produced between 1980 and 2010 (and later). In this paper, I have chosen to focus on the case of the charity campaign Podignimo Stupove and its music video output. The campaign was launched as a pop-cultural initiative to help the restoration of the 12th century monastery Đurđevi Stupovi in Stari Ras, a site of utmost historical significance and value for the national culture. Against the background of institutional changes that markedly redefined the place of religion in Serbian post-socialist society, the music videos discussed in this paper provide a valuable insight into the combined musical, textual and visual language of communication of some longstanding notions associated with “Serbian populism”.

Irena Šentevska

Irena Šentevska

Irena Šentevska received her PhD from the department of arts and media theory of the University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia. She lectured at the interdisciplinary doctoral studies of the University of Arts in Belgrade and was a guest lecturer at various university departments in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Graz and Zürich. Her works are being published by leading academic publishers in Europe and the US (Palgrave, Routledge, Taylor and Francis, Peter Lang, Indiana University Press, De Gruyter, Berghahn Books, Bloomsbury Academic, CEU Press etc.) Her first book The Swinging 90s: theatre and social reality of Serbia in 29 pictures came out in 2016 (Orion Art, Belgrade). She is currently working on her upcoming book Singing Belgrade: urban transformations, identity construction and music videos (Clio, Belgrade).

1. Do you have the impression that popular culture and entertainment is rather neglected in the academic context of Southeastern Europe and why do you think this is the case?

2. Which segments and products of media industries are, in your opinion, particularly effective as conduits of ideological messages associated with populist notions?

3. Can you find parallels in the other Southeastern European countries with the campaign Podignimo Stupove in the context of newly-invented traditions or redefinition of religious practices in the recent decades? Can you identify them only in the post-socialist countries? How about Austria?


Southeastern Europe