Gligorijevic, Jelena (TY): Negotiating Serbian National Identity in Times of Political Change: A Case Study of the Exit and Guca Trumpet Festivals
My PhD project deals with the issues of Serbian national identity representation through two major Serbian music festivals from 2000 onwards. One festival is pro-Western popular music-oriented whereas the other promotes what is regarded as an authentic Serbian brass music tradition. Not only do these festivals reflect, to a degree, the division of post-communist Serbian society between pro-European and nationalistic tendencies. They also serve as a starting point for investigating the relationship between the local and the global, which plays a significant role in the processes of establishing and negotiating (Serbian) national identity. Indeed, public disputes about the interpretation and representation of the national past and musical heritage have long been induced by the unsettled political situation in Serbia and by the festivals' gradual integration into the global music industry and cultural tourism market. In consequence, the festivals' relationship to issues of 'authenticity', tradition preservation, globalization impact, and representation politics continues to be viewed and discussed through familiar dichotomies.
Drawing on the theories of space production (Lefebvre 1974) as well as of the cultural public sphere (Giorgi et al. 2011), I approach the Exit and Guca trumpet festivals as a Serbian society's national micro-space and public platform within which the various displays of cultural and national identifications are projected out and contested all at once. This project aims to shed light on the ways in which the Exit and Guca festivals participate in the ongoing public debate on the meaning of Serbians' national past and identity.