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Workers’ self-management in the ‘Yugoslav road to socialism’: market, mobilisation and political conflict 1948-1962

Unkovski-Korica, Vladimir (2011) Workers’ self-management in the ‘Yugoslav road to socialism’: market, mobilisation and political conflict 1948-1962. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This is the first documented history of the birth and evolution of the workers’ councils system in Yugoslavia and the political conflicts that accompanied it. Straddling fourteen years, from the split with Moscow in 1948 to the re-opening of the national question for the first time after the Second World War in 1962, this thesis demonstrates that the progressive opening to the world market after the Tito-Stalin conflict intensified domestic struggles and centrifugal pulls on the federation. Using the archival materials of the ruling Communist Party, government and mass organisations, it explains the stages by which the market came to dominate the party-state’s mobilising strategies for society and the shop-floor. In Chapter 1, the introduction of workers’ councils is shown to have been a measure to reverse the extraordinary and democratising mobilisation that followed the break with the USSR, by splitting more advanced sections of the working class from those more tied to the countryside. Chapter 2 suggests that the umbilical cord set up from the West to ‘keep Tito afloat’ allowed the Yugoslav Communists to continue to invest in heavy industry over agriculture in order to escape underdevelopment. This created food shortages and massive resistance to managerial imperatives on the shop-floor. As the country fell deeper in debt, the government intensified market reform under the guise of expanding self-management in order to create an export sector. Chapter 3 sets the stage for open factional conflict in the leadership by noting the gulf between promise and reality in the workplace and on the terrain of complex and uneven domestic development. The main contribution of the thesis is to go beyond history as elite conflict and present it also as a process of class struggle with many mediating instances between the workplace and the state beholden to the world market.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2011 Vladimir Unkovski-Korica
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DR Balkan Peninsula
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > International History
Supervisor: Prazmowska, Anita J.

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