Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Research Articles

“It was the least painful to go into Greenhouse Production”: The Moral Appreciation of Social Security in Post-Socialist Serbia

  • Andre Thiemann
This paper deals with the agricultural production of social security. By representing a rural case study from Central Serbia, it contributes to the economic history of post-socialist former Yugoslavia and explores the conditions of the possibility for social alternatives to neo-capitalism. In the case study, a male actor - embedded within family and wider social networks - successfully accommodates the adverse macroeconomic conditions through hard work, micromanagement of limited resources, and the production of social relations. He also combines new micro-spatial fixings - productive facilities - with revaluing morally depreciated older ones. In sum, this case study shows how networks of actors can invest their energy into reversing the moral depreciation of labor and capital under conditions of capitalist competition and growing inequality. These practices point to an emancipation from the inegalitarian moral economy of capitalism, a process I conceptualize as “moral appreciation”. As its goal emerges the production of a relatively egalitarian society within the lived space of the urban-village continuum.