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Title:The business of solidarity: Socialist Yugoslavia and development aid in non-aligned Africa (1954-1991)
Author(s):Wright, Peter Quinnan
Director of Research:Todorova, Maria
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Todorova, Maria; Burton, Antoinette
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Greenberg, Jessica; Baker, Catherine
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Non-Aligned Movement
Global South
Abstract:This dissertation examines Socialist Yugoslavia’s place in the global postwar development aid economy and its unique brand of non-aligned internationalism. In the 1950s, the Yugoslav state deepened its economic relations with a host of emerging postcolonial states as part of its socialist internationalist ideology and need of new markets for its developing economy. In juxtaposing the universalist ideology of socialist internationalism with the demands of national postwar development, I argue that a global economy of developmental aid and technical cooperation competed with, and eventually eclipsed, socialist internationalism’s emphasis on anti-imperialism and global economic justice. As a European socialist state, Yugoslavia occupied a unique position in the postwar international order as a leader of the network of postcolonial states that eventually coalesced into the Non-Aligned Movement. However, this dissertation challenges entrenched historiographically depictions of Yugoslavia’s global identity as an exceptional European socialist state with a postcolonial identity. Rather, the Yugoslav state, like other socialist European states, was imbricated in common racial and economic hierarchies of modernity that situated East European socialist between the developed West and the undeveloped South. Marked by ‘conditional whiteness,’ Yugoslavs straddled the line between developed and developing, partner and patron in the Global South. This study tracks how such hierarchies played out in everyday life from the 1950s to the 1990s in the fields of international education, global public health, postcolonial political activism, and development aid consultancy. This study employs an ethnographic-historical methodology to foreground the voices and perspectives of ostensibly peripheral actors from the ‘Third World’ and the fringes of Europe as a means to challenge elite-focused methodologies in the fields of decolonization and the Cold War studies. It tracks the careers of two groups of people: Yugoslav development aid experts as they worked in postcolonial Africa and postcolonial students enrolled at Yugoslav universities and schools. Using this approach, I show how everyday contestations between ‘Second World’ and ‘Third World’ partners concerning the questions of labor, racial justice, and economic equality produced both networks of solidarity and friction of competing economic strategies that stymied the nascent accord of global socialism and decolonization movements in the Global South. Importantly, this research posits that decolonization and development regimes, rather than Cold War ideologies, fundamentally structured the lived experience of ‘Second World’-‘Third World’ solidarity projects and European socialist states’ political economies. Finally, this dissertation marshalls an eclectic range of source material to capture a wide variety of perspectives of participants and institutions engaged in global development projects. The foundation of the source material consists of novel archival collections from five different archives in Serbia and Croatia as well as UN, World Bank, and OECD documents. Complementing these institutional and state perspectives, I use a range of periodical and published material from think tanks and independent publishers. Finally, a series of oral interviews with Yugoslav bureaucrats and experts, as well as former students from the Global South still residing in Yugoslavia offers important supplementary information and insights into how individual lives on global peripheries were shaped by the interaction between the postwar development aid economy and socialist internaitonalism.
Issue Date:2020-07-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Peter Quinnan Wright
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-07
Date Deposited:2020-08

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