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Eliminating State Holidays as a Part of Saving Measures – Slovenian Case Study

State holidays were one of the ways of promoting various ideas of socialist competition also in a former Yugoslavia. In a shorter period of centrally planned economy until 1951, Labor day (1st of May) and The Day of the Republic (29th of November) were the most important milestones of evaluating working competition of various social groups. But since the 50's of the last century, when Yugoslavia introduced its own type of self-governmental socialism a specific type of socialist competition also occurred: besides competing for a higher productivity and with the capitalist West Yugoslavia promoted a semi-capitalist type of competition much earlier than other socialist Eastern European countries and according to Kovačevič developed it into a type of “a competition because of a competition”. Regarding only holidays this specific type of socialist competition can be recognized in proliferation of ceremonies, social activities and awards connected with and conferred at holidays. A part of such competition survived the transition and by folklorization and festivalization transformed itself into a heritage industry. From the emic perspective of hosts today it is mostly perceived as pure economical rivalry taking place also at state holidays free of work. But facing the economical crisis Slovenia's government plans to eliminate two state holidays, the 2nd of January and the 2nd of May as the extensions of the New Years's Day and the Labor day. They are the acquisitions of the previous social system, a “socialist heritage” and nevertheless the suggestion hasn't raised as many disputes as some other proposals in the package of the state’s saving measures have, its criticism is still quite often. The presentation will thus analyze various argumentations pro and contra eliminating mentioned state holidays and connect them with (dis)continuities in perceiving competition as one of the motivators for work.

Thursday 25 October 10:15-12:15 Panels IV, Panel 9 Cold War Competition in the Sphere of Culture (Hall 14)