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Yugoslavia: Development and Persistence of the State

  • Sharon Zukin
Part of the St Antony’s/Macmillan Series book series

Abstract

Any discussion of the state in Yugoslavia is forced to confront several seemingly insurmountable obstacles: the lack of a coherent general definition of the state, the contradiction in all socialist societies between a basic assumption of ‘withering away’ and a continuous governing apparatus, and the striking differences between Yugoslavia and other ‘socialist’ states. Because criteria for comparison usually derive from Soviet practice, the sine qua non of such a state is taken to be a centralised authority, especially in managing the economy, and a monopoly of political initiative in communist party hands. At first glance, the centrifugal nature of political relations in Yugoslavia, as well as a diffusion of effective social control, constitute a departure from this model. But in reality, the Yugoslav leaders’ attempts to respond to domestic and foreign pressures merely modify the concept of a ‘socialist state’. The series of strategic choices the leaders made, or were forced to make, between 1945 and 1950 negated the only models of state power that they knew — the interwar monarchy and the Soviet Union — and slowly led to a series of innovations. In particular, the leaders’ decision to withdraw from direct state management of both the economy and the society created two decisive shifts. First, despite a system founded on ‘social ownership’, it moved the locus of administrative control to regional, especially republican, political leaderships.

Keywords

Political System State Apparatus Party Member Interest Community Socialist Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    For a compendium of explanations of the current political system, see J. Djordjevic et al., Drustveno-politički sistem SFRJ (Belgrade, 1975). The effort to trace this system back to wartime Partisan practice is remarkable (pp. 248ff.).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    E. Kardelj, Pravci razvoja političkog sistema socijalističkog samoupravl-janja (Belgrade, 1978) pp. 192–3.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    In the division of labour that they practised, Kardelj worked more on government proper while Kidrić devoted himself to the economy. On the reorganisation of the state, see B. Kidrić, ‘O reorganizaciji državnog upravljanja privredom’ (1950) in his selected essays Socijalizam i ekonomija (Zagreb, 1979) pp. 67–73.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    The history of the interwar period is due for critical re-examination; see the historiographical essay by M. Zečević, ‘A New Outlook on the Formation of the Yugoslav State in 1918’, Socialist Thought and Practice (Belgrade) no. 4 (April 1981) pp. 45–62. On the political economy of the interwar period see J. Tomasevich, Peasants, Politics, and Economic Change in Yugoslavia (Stanford, 1955) esp. pp. 338–41, 369–82; andGoogle Scholar
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  6. 5.
    R. Bićanić, Economic Policy in Socialist Yugoslavia (Cambridge, 1973) pp. 20–1; empirical detail inGoogle Scholar
  7. E. Comisso, Workers Control Under Plan and Market: Implications of Yugoslav Self-Management (New Haven, Conn., 1979).Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    For a clearsighted analysis of the Yugoslav economy, see K. Mihailovic, Ekonomskastvarnost Jugoslavije, 2nd edn (Belgrade, 1982) esp. pp. 125ff. On territorialisation of investment and other problems, see S. Zukin, ‘Beyond Titoism’, Telos, no. 44 (Summer 1980) pp. 5–24; see alsoGoogle Scholar
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  10. L. D’Andrea Tyson, ‘Liquidity Crises in the Yugoslav Economy: An Alternative to Bankruptcy?’, Soviet Studies, vol. 31 (1979) pp. 3–22; and on the behaviour of regional leaderships, S. L. Burg, ‘Regional Constitution-Making in Yugoslav Politics’, Publius (forthcoming); cf. the Central Committee’s report, ‘Political Stabilization and Socio-Economic Development in the S.A.P. of Kosovo’ (Belgrade, 1981).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
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  12. 20.
    The most knowledgeable presentation of the ‘liberal’ characterisation of this period is in D. Rusinow, The Yugoslav Experiment 1948–1974 (Berkeley, 1977).Google Scholar
  13. 21.
    Rusinow, ibid, p. 155, reports that a party member who supported the market-oriented economic reforms of the mid-1960s told him, ‘When we realized that we would never be able to count on the Party machinery, we put our boys into the assemblies.’ On general doubts about the efficacy of the multicameral assemblies expressed by Yugoslavs even before their establishment, see F. W. Hondius, The Yugoslav Community of Nations (Paris and The Hague, 1968) pp. 286–91.Google Scholar
  14. 22.
    For example, in cases where a work organisation experiences business difficulties or labour problems. On the former, see the case studies in N. Pašić et al. (eds), Socijalističko samoupravljanje u Jugoslaviji (Belgrade, 1978) esp. p. 274; on the latter, seeGoogle Scholar
  15. N. Jovanov, Radnicki štrajkovi u SFRJ (Belgrade, 1979).Google Scholar
  16. 23.
    On the journals, see S. Zukin, ‘Sources of Dissent and Non-Dissent in Yugoslavia’, in J. L. Curry (ed.), Dissent in Eastern Europe (New York, 1983).Google Scholar
  17. 24.
    See Jovanov, Radnicki štrajkovi, and S. Zukin, ‘The Representation of Working-Class Interests in Socialist Society: Yugoslav Labor Unions’, Politics and Society, vol. 10 (1981) pp. 281–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 25.
    N. Pašić, Političko organizovanje samoupravnog društva (Belgrade, 1971). Rusinow, Yugoslav Experiment (pp. 331–2) finds ‘the core of the Kardeljian distinction [between the Yugoslav and other representative systems]’ in two provisos: first, that the Yugoslav delegates maintain constant contact with their constituents, and second, that they must not be professional politicians.Google Scholar
  19. 26.
    From this point of view, on the problematic professionalisation of sociologists in Yugoslavia, see V. Rus, ‘Jugoslovenska sociologija izmedju politizacije i socijalizacije’, Sociologija, vol. 23, no. 3–4 (1981) pp. 215–27; on the long struggle against another professional group, seeGoogle Scholar
  20. T. Oleszczuk, ‘Convergence and Counteraction: Yugoslavia’s “Anti-technocratic” Campaign and Electoral Results, 1957–1974’, Comparative Political Studies, vol. 13 (1980) pp. 205–33.Google Scholar
  21. 27.
    See Kardelj, ‘Pravci razvoja’, p. 217. On the ambivalence this role-definition causes party members, at least in Serbia, see A. Milić et al., Svest i angažovanost komunista (Belgrade, 1981); for an outline of ideological statements about the party’s role over time, seeGoogle Scholar
  22. T. Oleszczuk, ‘Group Challenges and Ideological De-radicalization in Yugoslavia’, Soviet Studies, vol. 32 (1980) pp. 561–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 29.
    Ibid; cf. Rusinow, Yugoslav Experiment, p. 147: ‘local government tended to attract and hold a higher proportion (and federal apparatuses a correspondingly lower proportion) of ambitious and/or talented people than would have been the case in other circumstances’. On the interwar period, see L. J. Cohen, ‘The Social Background and Recruitment of Yugoslav Political Elites, 1918–48’, in A.H. Barton et al. (eds), Opinion-Making Elites in Yugoslavia (New York, 1973) pp. 25–68. The post-1970s’ use of rotation may have decreased these tendencies.Google Scholar
  24. 32.
    Over the years the key terms in this critique have changed, from the 1950s analysis of ‘bureaucracy’ in M. Djilas’s, The New Class (New York, 1957), to ‘politocracy’, in the 1960s essays of intellectuals associated with the journal Praxis — see, for example, N. Popov, ‘Les formes et le caractère des conflits sociaux’, Praxis, International Edn, no. 3–4 (1971) p. 367 — to the 1970s discussion of ‘power centres’ in the articles of N. Jovanov — see, for example, his discussion in Marksistička misao, no. 6 (1978). A succinct critique of the current and coming crisis isGoogle Scholar
  25. J. Županov, Marginalije o društvenoj krizi (Zagreb, 1983).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© St Antony’s College, Oxford 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon Zukin

There are no affiliations available

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