Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory
Wednesday, 24. June Thursday, June 25 Friday, June 26
SESSION 1 SESSION 2 SESSION 4
SESSION 3 SESSION 5

Wednesday, 24. June

SESSION 1

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1a Struggles in Late Capitalism
Session Chair: Ana Birešev
1b Day After Tomorrow: Configurations of Post-Capitalism
Session Chair: Toni Prug
1c Post-Yugoslav Challenges
Session Chair: Srđan Prodanović
Rastko Močnik
Class Composition and Ideological Struggles
Damian Winczewski
Beyond Capitalist Mode of Production. Planning and Market Socialism Re-thought
Danijela Majstorović and Anđela Pepić
Post-2014 Economic Restructuring as Europeanization. Discourse/Practice in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)
Mariana Teixeira and Arthur Bueno
Social Pathologies of Capitalism
Tomislav Medak
Technological Development, Post-Capitalist Transition and Underdevelopment
Jelena Pešić
Privatization Processes in the Perception of Serbia’s Citizens
Veselin Mitrović
Apathy and Capitalism
Božidar Filipović
Socialism, Communism, Capitalism – Sociological Classic as a Signifier and Critic
Adela Gjorgjioska
Pre-ideological Direct Democracy and What Comes After: New Plenums in a Post-Yugoslav Context
Nataša Stanojević and Slobodan Kotlica
The Features and Effects of Foreign Direct Investment
Jasmina Husanović
Alienation Galore – or How to Read the Symptoms: the Politics of Emotions and Social Protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Rastko Močnik
University of Ljubljana

Class Composition and Ideological Struggles

The contribution examines the conditions of antagonistic class-composition in contemporary capitalism from the perspective of political and ideological struggles that foster or hinder the class composition of the working people. As a theoretical support for this perspective, the contribution proposes the concept of “social composition of labour power”. This concept is not limited to the presumed mechanisms of “labour market”. It embraces numerous institutional and practical dimensions (legal regulations, technological decisions, organisation of labour processes and practices of governance, co-operation and resistance at the working place, educational system and other ideological apparatuses etc.) that, by their complex and contradictory structuring, constitute apparatuses of exploitation-domination and their reproduction, and, simultaneously, spaces of class conflict. The approach to ideological struggles mobilises Althusserian concepts of ideological interpellation and material existence of ideology. Both concepts seem of particular relevance nowadays when bourgeois juridical ideology and its institutions impose over-exploitation upon the working people and, by fragmenting them into a host of juridical-economic categories, block their class-composition. On the other hand, the ambiguous status of the neo-liberal ideology that has lost its hegemony but still dominates, indicates the urgency to reconsider the theory of ideology.


Mariana Teixeira and Arthur Bueno
University of São Paulo / University of Campinas

Social Pathologies of Capitalism

This paper intends to discuss the relevance of the concept of “social pathology” for analyzing and criticizing some of the normatively problematical aspects of life under capitalism, as well as for exploring its possible alternatives. The starting point is provided by Axel Honneth’s writings, which have for 20 years put forward and further developed that concept as a central means for a critical theory of modern social relations, including those established within the economic sphere. One of the main strengths of such category is its ability to furnish the conceptual tools for linking problematic (possibly pathological) individual experiences and wider (pathological) social and economic processes. However, the sociological resources which Honneth resorts to – i.e., Durkheim’s and Parsons’s social theories – lead to problematical outcomes, in that they ultimately hinder an adequate response for the very questions the concept of social pathology intends to give an answer to. As a consequence, precisely the connections between forms of individual psychical suffering and wider social processes are only poorly handled by a structural-functionalist approach which puts too much weight on the idea that society as such may fall ill. With that in mind, we will then try to give a more appropriate answer to the questions raised by Honneth’s formulations, suggesting that a reconstruction of Georg Simmel’s conception of “pathologies of culture” – which is directly linked to his analyses of the paradoxical aspects of the modern monetary economy with regard to its consequences for subjective and intersubjective life – might provide a better way of grasping the negative psychical effects of life under capitalism.


Veselin Mitrović
University of Belgrade

Apathy and Capitalism

There are several possible perspectives from which one can research the socio-economic conditions and actions that contribute to the loss of resiliency in a given population: historical, comparative, or as part of a general national research of the social-structural transformations.

Starting from the classical example of Paul Lazarsfeld’s research of a community of the unemployed in 1930, during the Great Recession, all the way up to the present-day Gallup’s research of living conditions throughout the world, we can observe that a deterioration of one of the three main components of health – the quality of one’s social existence – gradually, but inevitably leads to the worsening of the two other main components: the individuals’ physical and mental condition.

In that respect, we argue that a study of the indicators of the quality of the social existence and social action of different strata in Serbia within the context of a capitalist mode of production, can point toward a particular form of societal condition of ’disquietude’. The disquietude is caused by the challenges that arise at a point of intersection between the ’apathetic society’ and the ’state of emergency’ such as natural catastrophes, accidents, wars, epidemics or extreme poverty.

With that aim in mind, we embarked upon a phenomenal analysis of apathy as it manifests itself in different strata of the societal structure and action, trying to show that, within a given constellation, the manifestations of apathy in various forms of action endanger the very survival of a functional society, as they render societal existence unbearable. We will thus present some possibilities for drawing practical implications from the research results through the theoretical framework of the sociology of disasters.


Damian Winczewski
University of Szczecin

Beyond Capitalist Mode of Production. Planning and Market Socialism Re-thought

The main objective of this paper is to answer the question of the extent to which planning, can be reconciled with market socialism and self-governing labor organizations. The works of authors dealing with contemporary political economy shows that labor cooperatives can be an effective way to manage the company and the neo-liberal view of the operation of the business is anachronistic. Pat Devine and Fikret Adaman tried to prove that the employee can perform enterprises efficient allocation through planning based on negotiations. Paul Cockshott and Alin Cotrell, in turn, argued that the political elements of the negotiations are unnecessary, because the plan would only require advanced technology and computer-based account of the law of value based on the work. Both models have significant limitations, which rules out the possibility of independent use of each of them separately. However, their individual components may be useful in regulating the economy to market socialism in combination could form the foundation of the vision of the economy close to such concepts as eco-socialism and similar. So, with assumption of social character of knowledge, we should still consider democratic planning as a foundation of future non-capitalist mode of production.


Tomislav Medak
Multimedia Institute, Zagreb

Technological Development, Post-Capitalist Transition and Underdevelopment

The imaginaries of post-capitalist transition all too often stake their hopes with the transformative power of technological development. – Be it the belief that technologies will solve social pathologies, as in various forms of engineering solutionism. Be it the belief that automation will relieve the humanity of scarcity and drudgery, as in various forms of contemporary accelerationism. Be it the belief that the development of forces of production will burst the straitjacket of relations of production, as in various forms of traditional Marxism. – Even when they are deeply invested in analyzing capitalist relations, they entertain naïve notions of technology and science as detached and autonomous of the capitalist relations of production. Thinking that technological systems developed under capitalism can lead to and serve in post-capitalist societies fails to properly theorize and empirically analyze the role of technology under capitalism. Starting from the work of Raniero Panzieri, Donald MacKenzie and more recently Endnotes, I’ll a) provide an outline of a critique of technological development starting from the forces of production; b) sketch how the state of play in IT, logistics, and extractive technologies shapes contemporary global capitalism; c) and what are the consequences for developmental and transitional strategies in the technological less developed parts of the world.


 

Božidar Filipović
University of Belgrade

Socialism, Communism, Capitalism – Sociological Classic as a Signifier and Critic

Unlike Marx or Weber, Durkheim view on nature of socialism – as one of the most significant alternative to capitalism – did not leave a greater trace in sociological theory. Durkheim’s lecture in Bordeaux (1895-1896) was the basis for the posthumously published book Le socialisme. This is his most significant contribution to this topic. However, Durkheim’s attempt to define socialism and communism, can be understood as the intention of establishing the boundaries and divisions between different political currents and movements, or as an investment and contribution to the symbolic and political struggle. In our presentation we will try to analyze his strategy of challenging solutions for so-called social question, advocated by the Left. Contestations of “the left” theories (such as claims that they are non-scientific and without any empirical verification, or labeling socialist state as a bad and “bulky” economic actors, etc.) are formulated before the appearance of real socialism, but still present even today. In addition to these criticisms, which will be reproduced often and long after his death, Durkheim as the main obstacle to utopian project sees the impossibility of establishing a new socialist moral. This critique of socialism would later evolve through new and different forms.


Danijela Majstorović and Anđela Pepić
University of Banja Luka

Post-2014 Economic Restructuring as Europeanization. Discourse/Practice in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH)

BiH’s post-1996 peace and state building, as a top-down EU integration practice, has been marked by perpetual transition (Pandolfi 2010; Buden 2012), in which BiH has been constructed as the EU’s “immediate outside” (Jansen 2009, 2014; Spasić 2013), a state of exception (Agamben 2005), and the management of disorder/crisis (Foucault 2003; Comaroff and Comaroff 2006). In the country divided by institutional ethnic nationalism, the bottom-up response to the “disorder” transcending ethnic divisions in favor of a more activist citizenship and class solidarity was reflected in the 2014 protests and plenums.As a response, the new Europeanization discourse/practice in BiH following these events signaled a shift from political, or constitutional, to socio-economic reforms calling off facilitation efforts to implement the European Court of Human Rights’ Sejdić-Finci ruling. Instead, the EU “Compact for Growth and Jobs,” backed by the so-called British-German initiative, emerged as the main precondition aiming to revitalize Bosnia’s European path and end the deadlock through a “resequencing” of EU conditionality.The document has been already criticized as a typical set of reforms bringing austerity-measures to an already impoverished economy and a strategic reassertion of the EU influence in BiH between “Russia and ISIS.” The aim of this paper is to historically contextualize and critically analyze this EU discourse/practice pointing at its blind spots and potential locales for social change thinking “beyond capitalism” in s European semi-periphery.


Jelena Pešić
University of Belgrade

Privatization Processes in the Perception of Serbia’s CitizensPrivatization processes are regarded as one of the key features of the socio-economic transformation of socialist societies and their structuring on the capitalist basis. In most cases, the strategy of the ruling elites and policy-makers involved ideological postulating market economy as non-alternative system that has to enjoy broad public support in order to make privatization processes successful. However, although neoliberal reform policy prevailed in almost all post-socialist societies, a “post-communist recession” occurred as more or less unexpected outcome of the transformation processes, leading to systemic induced decline in economic activities and extensive deindustrialization. This failure to meet expectations of the population in terms of growth of living standard has reflected in reduced support for the reforms and especially for privatization processes, recorded in most post-socialist countries. This paper aims to determine whether the global crisis of neoliberal economy (which became transparent in 2008 and lasts till this day) led to decline in support for economic reforms and privatization processes in Serbia, and particularly whether this support differs among social classes. The analysis will rest on data obtained through empirical research of Serbian population in 2012 on national representative sample (within the research project Challenges of social integration – concepts and actors) and will involve examination of the degree of respondents’ support of empirical statements measuring orientation towards economic liberalism and privatization of different segments of public sector.


Adela Gjorgjioska
University of Lausanne

Pre-ideological Direct Democracy and What Comes After: New Plenums in a Post-Yugoslav Context

I explore the possibility of a continuum between the recent ‘Plenums’ in Bosnia and Macedonia, to Yugoslav workers’ self-management. Social memory would be the thread on which past experiences could be brought into the repertoires of activist action through self-organization. I hypothesize that the recent ‘Plenums’, rather than a re-emergence of a new form of Yugoslav self-management, represent an emergence of an entirely new type of self-organization. This is firstly due to the fading of worker’s self-management from active collective memory and secondly due to the potency of alternative global inspirations.

I use the socio-dynamic approach, which combines the methodologies of social identity theory and the epistemology of social representations theory, to study the positioning of Student Plenum members in Macedonia towards a range of different options of self-organization and contention. In addition, I explore their articulation of an ideological positioning in order to clarify whether experiences with direct democracy serve to crystalize ideological standings, shake them or render them obsolete.


Nataša Stanojević and Slobodan KotlicaMegatrend University, Belgrade

The Features and Effects of Foreign Direct Investment

This paper considers the role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the transformation and development of post-socialist transition economies, with particular review of the Balkans ‘countries. Since these countries had a significant deficiency of inner capacities, FDI were considered as the most important means of providing financial capital, technologies, organizational and managerial practices and access to foreign capital markets. Such expectations supported by the theories of positive contribution of FDI to the economic transformation of transition countries. Over the past decade, transition economies have been the fastest-growing host for FDI, but there are no expected results. FDI didn`t contributed much to industrial improvement or to the promotion of competitiveness and exports, and the new empirical evidences suggests even negative effect of FDI on domestic market.

Respecting to great disparity between potential and realized effects of FDI on the economic development of these economies, this paper explores the main sources of failure. The first is the undersize of FDI, the second refers to its type, with predominating acquisitions and privatizations with less sophisticated technology transfers and the third, sectoral distribution, primarily in non-tradable services and goods, which only contributes to the market spread of the investors.


Jasmina Husanović
University of Tuzla

Alienation Galore – or How to Read the Symptoms: the Politics of Emotions and Social Protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina

This presentation/paper will critically engage with the symptoms of alienation evident in the materiality of social protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2014, situated at the interstices of the practice of everyday life, labour and activism, including various spaces of publicity where demands for social justice are being enacted. Affective emotions in social protests and movements should be explored in a way that enables us to go beyond the current deadlocks of collective action (fragmentation, horizontal hostility, impotence, disaffection, etc.). This paper attempts to contribute to the common forging of the particular knowledge about emotions and affective experiences by bringing together several empirical insights from the context of recent grassroots revolt and activism in Bosnia and Herzegovina (both plenum and post-plenum period). It draws upon some promising recent theories of alienation, political motivation and action which look into the affective conundrums of anger, shame, guilt, indignation, revolt and hope that pervade social life and labour, as well as the material dynamics of bodies and voices in social movements. The accent is placed on the possibilities of going beyond the petrifying and debilitating affective economies towards an affirmative affective and political landscape of emancipatory change aiming at solidarity and equality.