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The neoliberal katastrofa: privatisation, development and a changing economy in Macedonia’s Tikveš wine region

Otten, Justin Michael (2015) The neoliberal katastrofa: privatisation, development and a changing economy in Macedonia’s Tikveš wine region. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:48413)

Language: English
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This thesis draws upon anthropological fieldwork carried out in 2010–11 in the Tikveš wine region of the Republic of Macedonia. Unlike most other countries of the former Eastern Bloc, Macedonia’s post-socialist transition was held off due to the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The result is that a slower, more subtle shift has occurred there yet it has been one guided by neoliberal principles, thus significantly altering the livelihoods of the country’s inhabitants.

My research in Tikveš illustrates the role privatisation (privatizacija, a term known and used locally) is playing in the region’s transition from government to private ownership and production, specifically in the wine industry. Although the quality and selection of wine in Tikveš has improved, the lives of the independent grape growers and their families have not. Instead, the growers have been subject to the leverage of the winery owners—who have reduced and delayed payments to them—while a neoliberalised government has taken a laissez-faire approach to market regulation.

Combined with EU accession development policy, this thesis therefore focuses on how individuals in the region are both protesting and adapting to the change at hand through rearranging their livelihoods and work. Indeed, grape growers have been left with a surplus of grapes and a dearth of income and certainty, inciting some to produce vast quantities of homemade rakija (brandy) while others replace, abandon or sell their vineyards. New ways of bringing in income, such as selling one’s brandy, produce or homemade goods are also modes of survival. Yet many claim that is all they are doing, merely ‘surviving, not living’.

An argument is thus made that there is a return to the peasantry. Such repeasantisation is a process whereby the focus of economic activity becomes further centred on households and the pooling of family resources drawn from working the land and engaging in non-professional types of work. This form of repeasantisation is essentially that increasing numbers of individuals are not only working their small plots of land to provide produce for their family and for sale, but that in replacing the employment and income once provide by the state they are engaging in petty trade and precarious employment when it can be found. The thesis is comprised of six chapters, with an introduction and conclusion as well.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Bowman, Glenn
Uncontrolled keywords: Macedonia Yugoslavia post-socialism transition privatisation development neoliberalism wine
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Funders: Organisations -1 not found.
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 14 May 2015 11:00 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 18:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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