European Social Science History Conference 22-27 April 2014, University of Vienna



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European Social Science History Conference

22-27 April 2014, University of Vienna

Panels organized and papers accepted and submitted by the faculty initiative “Labor History for the 21st Century in a Global Perspective” at Central European University, Budapest, Department of History, Marsha Siefert and Susan Zimmermann, and Gijs Kessler, International Institute of Social History, Moscow

Wednesday 23 April 2014 11.00 - 13.00

The Transformation of Labour under State Socialism

This panel brings together scholars whose research has focused on the complex, changing, ambiguous and at times contradictory nature of labor regimes and labor control under and in the orbit of state socialism. Focusing on transformations and changing combinations of labor in the industrializing agrarian sector, and the amalgamation of various forms of managing and controlling industrial labor in connection with the rise and the decline of the socialist regime, the papers shed light on the variety and the dynamic history of labor under socialism. Challenging simplified notions of Eastern European “transitions” and “transformations” they aim to offer new conceptual and empirical avenues to develop our understanding of the nature of labor under state socialism. In particular, the papers discuss variegated property regimes, systems of labor management and the organization (and disorganization) of production at the factory level and in collectivized agriculture, as well as processes of transfer between market and socialist economies on all of these levels. The panel in this way contributes to the discussion of material and social change under state socialism, the changing positioning of the state socialist world in the global community (or global division of labor), and on the contested relationship, as well as elements of convergence and divergence, between pre-socialist, socialist and post-socialist labor regimes.

Organisers: Gijs Kessler; Marsha Siefert; Susan Zimmermann
Chair: Irina Novichenko

Discussant: Andrea Komlosy

Chiara Bonfiglioli: Textile Workers during and after Yugoslavia: from Self-management to Post-socialism

Nigel Swain: Collectivisation and the Development of ‘Socialist Wage Labour’ in Hungarian Agriculture, 1946-77

Zsuzsanna Varga: Americanization of Soviet-type Agriculture: the Case of Hungary in the 1970s

Alina-Sandra Cucu: Fordism Without Assembly Lines” and Labour Control in Early Socialist Romania, 1949- 1953 (unable to participate)




Thursday 24 April 2014 8.30 - 10.30

Round Table: Bringing Eastern Europe into Global Labor History

This Roundtable brings together specialists in comparative or transnational labor history and historians known for their contribution to conceptual debate in global labor history. Building on their own historical research the participants will explore some of the avenues of integrating the new history of labor in Central Europe, South Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet space, into global labor history. For a variety of reasons this large area of research has been marginalized in European and global labor history, or at least in related conceptual debate, both before and after 1989/1991. The Roundtable explores how knowledge produced in Eastern European labor history may challenge some of the inherited wisdom of labor history writ large, and discuss the potential contribution of this research to ongoing scholarly debate on the conceptual framings of trans-European and global labor history. Reflecting on and relating to a cluster of ongoing innovative research on Eastern European labor history (as represented also in the related panels), the Roundtable aims to develop our understanding of transnational inequalities and geographies of labor and capital, and conceptually to move beyond the vexed juxtapositions of free versus unfree labor, and capitalist versus socialist labor.

Organisers: Gijs Kessler; Marsha Siefert; Susan Zimmermann
Chair: Marsha Siefert

Discussant: GopalanBalachandran

Andrea Komlosy: Backwardness, Peripheralization, or Path Difference?

Sabine Rutar: Labor Relations and Social Protests in the Shipyard on the Italo-Yugoslav Border During the Cold War

Alessandro Stanziani: Russian serfdom and its aftermath: beyond Kula and Gershenkron

Andrei Volodin: Factory/labour Inspectorate as a Comparative Model for East European Labour Relations




Saturday 26 April 2014 11.00 - 13.00

Rural Labour Strategies in Industrialising Eastern Europe: Migration and Alternatives

Exploring rural responses to the challenges brought by industrialisation in late nineteenth and early twentieth century Eastern Europe the panel looks at labor migration in different national, regional, social and economic settings in relation to alternative labor strategies. Migration and urbanisation stand out as the principal corollaries to the industrialisation process, but the repertoire was more varied. Reconnecting the rural world to the new hubs of economic development, rural labor strategies involved the circulation of people, goods and ideas with both local and global consequences. Migration brought peasants into urban and industrial settings, involving cross-cultural contact at the place of arrival and deep-seated social and demographic change at the place of departure. The emergence of commodity markets stimulated peasants to seek for ways to react to this demand, and in a globalising world they could look for answers to their questions beyond local and even national horizons. Charting these challenges and responses across different cases the panel contributes to our understanding of the rural-urban nexus in industrialising Eastern Europe, placing migration and urbanisation in an interpretative framework encompassing a wider variety of options.

Organisers: Gijs Kessler; Marsha Siefert; Susan Zimmermann
Chair: Marsha Siefert

Discussant: Lewis Siegelbaum

Irina Novichenko: The Study of European Co-operation and Practice of Co-operation in Russia (1890s-1920s)

Yukimura Sakon: Russian and Asian Immigrants in the Russian Far East: 1860-1914

Dan Draghia: The Interplay between Rural Labor and Western Specialists in the Romanian Cement Industry before World War I (unable to participate)

Nikolai Alexandrov: The Impact of Peasant Labor Migration on the Social and Demographic Situation of Villages after the Abolition of Serfdom (unable to participate)




Saturday 26 April 2014 16.30 - 18.30

Labor Relations, Recruitment and Risk in Eastern Europe

Industrialization was a goal of state socialist regimes in the postwar era, yet many of the countries of Eastern Europe were still primarily agrarian. How workers were recruited, what they were promised, and how they were managed when things went wrong in the complex environment of skilled factory production are the subjects of these four papers. Taking case studies from four different industries and four different regions, the scholars address several difficulties in labor relations. First, of course, is how does management persuade people to work in factories when there is limited mobility and no industrial tradition? Even in places where a local industrial experience could be tapped, how would management cope with rapid technological transformation and demands for increased production? How unified would workers feel in response to management incentives and differential rewards and how well would the promises of social insurance and other benefits compensate for accidents and dangers posed by the jobs required in heavy industry? In sum, this panel delves more deeply into the discourse of labor relations, making sense of the problems and consequences of “real socialism” on the factory floor.

Organisers: Gijs Kessler; Marsha Siefert; Susan Zimmermann
Chair: Alessandro Stanziani

Discussant: Marsha Siefert

Ulf Brunnbauer, Visar Nonaj: Finding Workers to Build Socialism: Recruiting for the Steel Factories in Kremikovci (Bulgaria) and Elbasan (Albania) during Communism

Adrian Grama: Labor’s Risks: Solidarity, Work Accidents and the Insurantial Imaginary in Socialist Romania, 1947-1989

Thomas Lindenberger: Havarien: Large Industrial Accidents and Labor Relations in Communist East Germany

Ulrike Schult: Labor Relations in Self- Managed Socialism: the Yugoslav Motor Vehicle Industry during the 1960s-1980s



Additional papers selected and submitted by the organizers

Anca Glont, From Socialists to Socialism: The Integration of Organized Labor in the Jiu Valley, 1918-1958

Goran Musić: When Workers' Self-Management met Neoliberalism: Resistance and Support to Market Reforms on the Factory Shop floor in Late Yugoslav Socialism

Vladimir Unkovski-Korica, Working Class Identity and the Struggle for Regional Autonomy in Socialist Vojvodina 1963-1974



Zinaida Vasilyeva: DIY Technology for Public or Private Good: Toward an Anthropology of Labor in Late Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia




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