This chapter explores how the author’s research into nationalism, popular culture, gender and sexuality in international politics has been able to apply the idea that the Eurovision Song Contest illustrates the idea of contestants as symbolic representatives of the nation, whose bodies and embodied practices can be said to ‘perform’ national identity. Moreover, the twenty-first-century ESC has drawn together debates over popular music and debates over LGBTQ rights which, in the context of post-Yugoslav nationalisms, both turn on how far they might affirm nations’ ‘Europeanness’ and have become what Bojan Bilic terms a ‘litmus test’ for nations’ international image. By exploring how embodied performances of nationhood can attempt to sway the ‘litmus test’ in particular ways through examples from the ESC, including Marija Šerifovic’s victorious Serbian entry ‘Molitva’ (2007) which opened itself to queer interpretations, the chapter suggests that such insights can be extended to other symbolic representatives of the nation including political leaders, providing a framework which explains not only the ESC’s embodied politics but also the public personas of figures such as Serbia’s openly lesbian prime minister Ana Brnabic, whose appointment in 2017 raised similar issues to those surrounding Belgrade’s hosting of the ESC and Pride.
Baker, C. (2022). The Molitva Factor: The Eurovision Song Contest and ‘Performing’ National Identity in World Politics. In A. Dubin, D. Vuletic, & A. Obregón (Eds.), The Eurovision Song Contest as a Cultural Phenomenon: From Concert Halls to the Halls of Academia (96-110). Abingdon: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003188933-9