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Wild dances and dying wolves: simulation, essentialization, and national identity at the Eurovision Song Contest

Baker, C.; (2008) Wild dances and dying wolves: simulation, essentialization, and national identity at the Eurovision Song Contest. Popular Communication , 6 (3) pp. 173-189. 10.1080/15405700802198113. Green open access

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Abstract

This paper examines Eurovision as a site for the public representation of the nation and explores the tendency towards simulation in such representations. The contest’s transnational audience and implication in commercial practices create pressures towards representing the nation through simplified, well-known images. A critique of globalization from south-east Europe argues that cultural production from marginalized countries which emphasizes local distinctiveness is a sign of structural inequality. This critique is tested against representational strategies from Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia. Eurovision is then related to tourism through an analysis of the representation of the Mediterranean in Eurovision performances, which reflect symbolic hierarchies constructed by travel writing since the Enlightenment. Finally, the paper considers the overarching representational power exerted by host states.

Type:Article
Title:Wild dances and dying wolves: simulation, essentialization, and national identity at the Eurovision Song Contest
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI:10.1080/15405700802198113
Publisher version:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15405700802198113
Language:English
Keywords:Eurovision Song Contest, popular music, folklore, national identity, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Ukraine
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > SSEES (School of Slavonic and East European Studies)

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