Accepted Paper:

Capitalist post-socialism: negotiating the labor market in Croatia  


Nila Hofman (DePaul University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the everyday practices of Croatian women who entered the labor market under socialism and continue to work there. I discuss the strategies that these women have adopted in surrendering to, resisting and renegotiating the new social order.

Paper long abstract:

Based on ethnographic research conducted in Zagreb, Croatia (2011-2013), this paper discusses the lived experiences of women who entered the labor market during socialism and are working in the neoliberal present. Specifically, I address the everyday practices of Croatian women in their negotiations with the new capitalist order. My paper is relevant to the general theme of the conference, as it discusses ordinary daily living practices and expressions of "social heritages," located in my study participants' historical memories and lived realities of the present. I address the ways in which different women participate, rework and resist the labor—and consumer—market, which has come to exemplify the new capitalist era in Croatia. I point out that, with the republic's preparation for European Union membership, a greater confidence in the for-profit industry has arisen. The view among certain sectors of the population of socialism as less modern, less European and more isolationists helped to produce a national discourse of global consumer capitalism as irresistible and inevitable. However, the growing resistance to and renegotiation of the economic mechanisms that have resulted in a decline of "the good life" have also become apparent. Examining these patterns, this case study offers examples of how Croatian women transgress as well as enact neoliberal models of capitalist globalization.

Panel Gend006
Gendered realities: old issues, new heritage