Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Southeast European History

Kathrin Jurkat

Impact of Transition on Workers

- An Investigation of the Serbian Working World -

The socio-economic development of Serbia during the last 30 years is strongly marked by processes of disintegration, discontinuity, isolation and finally by a neoliberal reorganization with a strong liberalization of trade and foreign investment. This doctoral thesis aims to analyze the impact of these developments, especially of the privatization and the liberation of trade and foreign investment, on the working world in Serbian factories.

The focus of my research is threefold: the transformation of working conditions, the social relationships in the factory (e.g. the relationship between management and blue-collar workers or changing gender relations) as well as resistance and working protests. One can posit that with the change of conditions of production, especially of ownership structures, there is deterioration of working conditions and social relationships which causes increased protests in- and outside of the factories.

Methodologically the dissertation is based on already existing research, on the analyses of documents and newspapers as well as on ego-documents, so that the main focus is the experience of workers in the factories. The investigation period covers the beginning of the economic crises in Yugoslavia in the end of the 1980s until the present and is situated in the Serbian city of  Zrenjanin. The research will examine two factories that were economically successful during the period of real-socialism but with the beginning of the transition experienced divergent developments.


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