Privatizing Poland: Baby Food, Big Business, and the Remaking of Labor (Culture and Society after Socialism)-Elizabeth C. Dunn

  • Title: Privatizing Poland: Baby Food, Big Business, and the Remaking of Labor (Culture and Society after Socialism)
  • Author: Elizabeth C. Dunn
  • Released: 2004-05-13
  • Language:
  • Pages: 224
  • ISBN: 0801489296
  • ISBN13: 978-0801489297
  • ASIN: 0801489296


Review "By the mid 1990s, Western as well as Eastern social scientists, businessmen and policy makers seemed to agree that one could not bring capitalism to Eastern Europe without bringing also 'capitalist values'. Elizabeth Dunn's book is a detailed and competent analysis of the engineering of souls and human relations entailed by the need for new values that accompanied the transformation of a Polish state enterprise, Alima, into a joint Polish-American private business, Alima-Gerber. . . . This sincere and realistic statement of her own relations to work and to Polish workers reveals her third underlying concern with power as it relates to the transformation of the company. Indeed the book shows how labor relations, notions of personhood and human relations on the shop floor are negotiated by Alima workers, who arrive at the encounter with the American Gerber company with their own (socialist or Christian) values. This power axis, with its emphasis on the dynamics of empowerment and disempowerment, is finally the strongest argument in Elizabeth Dunn's writing, as it underlines her whole analysis of data."—Monica Heintz, Soyuz: The Research Network for Postsocialist Studies, September 2004

"Privatizing Poland is a study based on participant-observation of the takeover of Alima, a baby-food factory in the medium-sized Polish city of Rzeszów, by the Michigan-based Gerber Corporation. . . . Dunn succeeds admirably in presenting the clash between the frameworks of flexible accumulation and actually existing socialism, inducing me to assign the book in a class on the transformations in Eastern Europe and a more general one on globalization. . . . Privatizing Poland stands out as one of the best case studies of the process of privatization in Eastern Europe."—Hans C. Buechler, American Ethnologist, November 2005

"This is a pathbreaking book. Elizabeth Dunn is the first to allow us to feel what postcommunist transformation is all about. Dunn's detailed account of the concrete ways in which people's lives have changed makes dry social science concepts like 'transition,' 'class formation,' and 'privatization' come alive. How are people working differently? How are they made to think differently? How has 'democratization' been used to create a new, subordinate type of worker, as well as new types of managers? Postcommunism has never been captured like this before."—David Ost, author of The Defeat of Solidarity: Anger and Politics in Postcommunist Europe

"In this stimulating book, Elizabeth C. Dunn renews an anthropology of capitalism, and will stir debates about postsocialist transition. In the land of Solidarity, management techniques seek to remake labor discipline as well as Polish worker identities in accordance with neoliberal ideals of privatized responsibility. Workers, however, struggle to reclaim values that sustain a moral vision of solidarity. The author's vivid ethnography and engaging style make this book a pleasure to read."—Aihwa Ong, author of Buddha is Hiding: Refugees, Citizenship, the New America

"Well organized and well crafted, Privatizing Poland is an excellent addition to the literature on the postsocialist transition in Eastern Europe. Both participant and observer, Elizabeth C. Dunn worked side-by-side on the shop floor and behind the sales desk with those in the midst of the transition."—Martha Lampland, author of The Object of Labor: Commodification in Socialist Hungary

About the Author Elizabeth C. Dunn is Assistant Professor of Geography and International Affairs at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is coeditor of Civil Society: Challenging Western Models. --This text refers to the edition. pdf
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