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OWNERSHIP VS. PROPERTY RIGHTS IN A WORKER-OWNED COMPANY IN POST-SOCIALIST CROATIA

Kojanic, Ognjen (2020) OWNERSHIP VS. PROPERTY RIGHTS IN A WORKER-OWNED COMPANY IN POST-SOCIALIST CROATIA. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In this dissertation, I analyze the material basis for everyday politics in ITAS, a metalworking company in Northwest Croatia. The company is best known for its model of worker shareholding, established after a prolonged conflict with the previous owner that ended in a bankruptcy process and reorganization in 2006. It has been described by journalists, activists, and documentary filmmakers as a rare example of worker shareholding and economic democracy in Southeastern Europe. It is popularly considered a successful attempt to build an alternative to capitalist property relations that addresses rising social inequality following the processes of neoliberalization in post-socialism. However, based on ethnographic research conducted over 21 months between 2015 and 2018, I analyze widespread disagreement with this representation of the company among many of its workers. Workers’ perception of worker ownership in ITAS as unsuccessful shows that relying on liberal political and legal forms, such as shareholding, is not sufficient in the struggle for social justice in marginalized communities. Furthermore, ITAS workers’ views of divisions in the company, labor relations, and the materiality of metalworking provide us with the broad insight that practices related to material provisioning in the context of widespread commodification of social relations need to be centered in analysis to understand limits for alternative capitalist practices. I analyze both the notion of ownership in ITAS and the critiques voiced by its workers of how ownership seemed to be working out in practice. These criticisms were voiced by those who are presumably the primary beneficiaries of worker ownership. To understand them, I shift between scales to theorize transnational political economic processes, legal and discursive changes in Croatia and beyond, and material transformations within the company. Croatia has seen widespread deindustrialization in the decades after the breakup of Yugoslavia, which has relegated it to a peripheral position in the European Union. Further, legal and discursive changes after the fall of socialism have delegitimized collective forms of ownership. The dilapidation of the machines and tools they use have narrowed the horizon of political possibility for ITAS workers and made solidarity among them harder to achieve.


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Details

Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kojanic, Ognjenognjenkojanic@gmail.comogk20000-0001-5878-0730
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHayden, Robert M.rhayden@pitt.edurhayden0000-0002-4379-3325
Committee MemberLukacs, Gabriellalukacs@pitt.edulukacs
Committee MemberCabot, Heathhcabot@pitt.eduhcabot
Committee MemberMatza, Tomastomas.matza@pitt.edutomas.matza0000-0003-0774-7070
Committee MemberGrama, Emanuelaemanuelagrama@gmail.com0000-0001-7052-2873
Date: 16 September 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 March 2020
Approval Date: 16 September 2020
Submission Date: 25 June 2020
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 310
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: cultural anthropology, labor studies, everyday politics, post-socialism
Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2020 14:17
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2020 14:17
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/39290

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  • OWNERSHIP VS. PROPERTY RIGHTS IN A WORKER-OWNED COMPANY IN POST-SOCIALIST CROATIA. (deposited 16 Sep 2020 14:17) [Currently Displayed]

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