Men's manifesto: stereotypical image of workers and forms of visual representation in the media culture of Yugoslav socialism, 2018

Worker, Ilustrated Vjesnik, 1949

The Center for Research of Fashion and Clothing (CIMO) for 2018 is implementing the project Men's Manifesto: Stereotypical Image of Workers and Forms of Visual Representation in the Media Culture of Yugoslav Socialism, which is a continuation of research, problematization, elaboration and presentation of results related to appearance, clothing and clothing practices in the period of Yugoslav socialism predominantly on the pattern of worker identity and is part of a larger project with the working title Men's  Manifesto. In this phase of the project, the forms of stereotypical image of workers and the meaning of visual media representation of male identity of workers in individual and mass appearance are questioned, namely: body, appearance, work and protective clothing and work uniforms (according to work categories), markings, stereotypes, social image , typology, habitus understood as a wider (clothing) personal and collective space visible in the representation in media culture. The focus is on researching the visual representation of the social function of an ideologically marked stereotype (worker), the image of the subject / object of work within the development of consumerist practices and the culture of everyday life. The notion of the worker remains a long-standing and firm stereotype of the use (as well misuse) of the industry of creating and mediating the image (clothing) and appearance of the ideological concept of the working man as a pillar of the social ideological matrix of the socialist "ideal", all through publications, press and media. publicity, advertising, propaganda in the ideological context of early socialism (the period of social realism) that ideologized and reinforced this stereotypical image.

Within the current efforts to understand more complex cultural phenomena, and according to the model of interdisciplinary anthropological approach to cultural and visual studies, there is a need for research focusing identity policies of the construction of the "new man character" in the postwar socio-ideological space of the former Yugoslav state. the stereotype of a “social mentality”. The "new" construction of reality (socialism, industrialization, modernization) required new forms of representation of the power of homo politicus, as the subject and bearer of a new political construction, which was built through the image of man as an iconic sign of power (masculinity, modernity, "body and suit ”, work, social status,…). Within the slogan "workers and peasants", the role of workers as a pillar of building a new reality, industrialization and modernization is insisted on. The worker thus becomes (declaratively) a constructive pillar of society that is propagated, constructed and consolidated through media construction and careful "stereotyping", which establishes a kind of pillar of building and modernizing society.

Ideological - institutional "redrawing" of the construction of identity ("comrade", worker, peasant, soldier, athlete,…) through clothing and appearance, in its breadth of everyday life, is shown as a continuity of masculine social power that is recognized today in patriarchal constructions of reality.

Viewed more broadly, the Men's Manifesto project is a research project that seeks to examine how the construction of male (masculine) social power manifests itself as a construct of representation of social and cultural identity in public space through body language and clothing.

The research refers to the period of the early post-revolutionary period of living standard development and the emergence of early consumerism (from 1945 to 1953) when clothing design and production shifted from the field of manufacturing and individual crafts to "collective" production, and thus to the entry of ideological propaganda. into the field of industry, through advertising and publicity, for which there is an abundance of textual (verbal) and visual material.

Conceptualization and implementation of the idea of workers as bearers of the role of work and construction as a basis for the development of a developed society is one of the most important ideological matrices of creating a "new man" in the postwar renewal and ideological platform in creating an ideological individual (structured) body and norms of structured collective bodies. The concept of ideological power is thus intended to be inscribed in the physical as well as in the political social collective body in its breadth through the construction of mass labor (labor actions, heavy industry, strikes). The power of the "new man" is visible in the propagation and construction of the stereotype of workers - strikers with careful investment in the construction of the appearance of a healthy and strong representative of the new order. The work thus represents a manifestation of human power and a symbolic representation of social and individual identity. The concept of work and workers as the main bearer of construction is accompanied by all forms of propaganda, advertising and publicity that are a source for research on politically motivated and standardized rules of social behavior and participation in the construction of "new reality" that can be read in text (written media, brochures, manuals, pamphlets) but much more in the visual forms of representation (photography, film).

Key words: work, worker, work clothes, work uniforms, typologies, appearance, markings, standards and norms, rules of work and behavior, forms of mass and individual work, striker (new man), propaganda and representation in visual media (newspapers, Photography).

Project leaders: Tonči Vladislavić, Sonja Briski Uzelac

Researchers: Lea Vene, Ivana Čuljak


* The research project Men's Manifesto was launched by CIMO - Center for Research of  Fashion and Research in 2014, when it was supported by the City Office for Culture, Education and Sports of the City of Zagreb and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia (2014-2019).

* The work within the project Men's Manifesto in 2018 is focused on scientific research of the term worker, entitled: Men's Manifesto: stereotypical image of workers and forms of visual representation in the media culture of Yugoslav socialism, CIMO, 2018.

* The project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, for 2018.

* Copyright © cimo - a center for research of  fashion and clothing. All rights reserved.

* Photos: private archives t.v.