On animals and seas: menageries as representations of Yugoslav global and local space in the Cold War era

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Abstract

Socialist Yugoslavia, a small country in Southeast Europe, was unique in two ways. One was that it was not part of the Eastern Block and developed its own brand of socialism – ‘socialist self-governance’. The other was that it was a European country which, through the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement, associated itself with the recently decolonized countries of the so-called Third World and aspired to lead them. Interestingly, the worldliness of Yugoslavia and its uniqueness, respectively, were embodied in two menageries – the zoos of the Brioni archipelago in the Adriatic and Belje, a large hunting estate in the Pannonian Basin. Brioni, a veritable Yugoslav Noah’s Arc, was created by shipping animals from non-aligned countries as tokens of friendship and souvenirs of President Tito’s maritime expeditions to Asia and Africa. Belje was populated by what was understood as ‘autochthonous’ fauna and showcased Yugoslavia’s ecological and cultural uniqueness. This article examines how the two sites came to represent Yugoslavia’s global and local territory. It shows that the ways in which animals were collected, utilized and understood were closely connected to embodied political practices of the Cold War era. The menageries acquired a symbolic role, the article argues, because the relationships between animals and humans were deeply embedded in human political rituals and transactions of the age.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalCultural Geographies
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jun 2018

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Cold War
cold war
animal
Yugoslavia
non-aligned country
socialism
zoo
United Nations
shipping
Third World
friendship
hunting
archipelago
transaction
religious behavior
UNO
president
governance
fauna
basin

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title = "On animals and seas: menageries as representations of Yugoslav global and local space in the Cold War era",
abstract = "Socialist Yugoslavia, a small country in Southeast Europe, was unique in two ways. One was that it was not part of the Eastern Block and developed its own brand of socialism – ‘socialist self-governance’. The other was that it was a European country which, through the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement, associated itself with the recently decolonized countries of the so-called Third World and aspired to lead them. Interestingly, the worldliness of Yugoslavia and its uniqueness, respectively, were embodied in two menageries – the zoos of the Brioni archipelago in the Adriatic and Belje, a large hunting estate in the Pannonian Basin. Brioni, a veritable Yugoslav Noah’s Arc, was created by shipping animals from non-aligned countries as tokens of friendship and souvenirs of President Tito’s maritime expeditions to Asia and Africa. Belje was populated by what was understood as ‘autochthonous’ fauna and showcased Yugoslavia’s ecological and cultural uniqueness. This article examines how the two sites came to represent Yugoslavia’s global and local territory. It shows that the ways in which animals were collected, utilized and understood were closely connected to embodied political practices of the Cold War era. The menageries acquired a symbolic role, the article argues, because the relationships between animals and humans were deeply embedded in human political rituals and transactions of the age.",
author = "Tijana Vujosevic",
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N2 - Socialist Yugoslavia, a small country in Southeast Europe, was unique in two ways. One was that it was not part of the Eastern Block and developed its own brand of socialism – ‘socialist self-governance’. The other was that it was a European country which, through the United Nations and the Non-Aligned Movement, associated itself with the recently decolonized countries of the so-called Third World and aspired to lead them. Interestingly, the worldliness of Yugoslavia and its uniqueness, respectively, were embodied in two menageries – the zoos of the Brioni archipelago in the Adriatic and Belje, a large hunting estate in the Pannonian Basin. Brioni, a veritable Yugoslav Noah’s Arc, was created by shipping animals from non-aligned countries as tokens of friendship and souvenirs of President Tito’s maritime expeditions to Asia and Africa. Belje was populated by what was understood as ‘autochthonous’ fauna and showcased Yugoslavia’s ecological and cultural uniqueness. This article examines how the two sites came to represent Yugoslavia’s global and local territory. It shows that the ways in which animals were collected, utilized and understood were closely connected to embodied political practices of the Cold War era. The menageries acquired a symbolic role, the article argues, because the relationships between animals and humans were deeply embedded in human political rituals and transactions of the age.

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