Skip to main content

Public defense of Milos Milicevic's PhD Dissertation: Stolen Futures: Place-making at the Periphery of Global Capitalism

Milos Milicevic
Thursday, January 27, 2022, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 931 9844 9360
Passcode: 702608

Dissertation committee:

Supervisor: Tamara Steger, Dept of Environmental Sciences and Policy at CEU
Internal Member: Guntra Aistara, Dept of Environmental Sciences and Policy at CEU
External Member: Rory Archer, Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz

Opponent: Dr. Deana Jovanović, Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University
Chair: Karl Hall, CEU


Aiming to understand the ways in which people in a small town in southeastern Serbia imagine, negotiate and create their futures, this dissertation traverses both time and space, while moving across scales, in order to uncover those conditions that enable and, more importantly, constrain their capacities to decide on their own fortunes. Investigating ‘futures’, both within the lifeworlds of my individual subjects, as well as how they are engaged by different institutions and enacted through different processes that stretch far beyond the locality, I conceptually link time and space only to uncover, in the last instance, their material separation and an unequal distribution of time across space.

I demonstrate how Serbia’s peripheral positionality within the global capitalist system not only structures the national economy and development prospects, which results in reproduction and deepening of socioeconomic inequalities between Serbia and countries of the capitalist cores, but how it also, and most critically, results in an uneven geography of embodied time itself. Following the capital and material flows through, into, from and within the town of Aleksinac and Serbia at large, I uncover how these capital and material flows also carry time, in its embodied form, with them. I thus reveal how the past - embodied in waste, used goods and outdated polluting technologies, increasingly flows into Serbia (and other peripheries of global capitalism alike), while the future - embodied in profits, resources and produced goods is increasingly dislocated out of the country and accumulated in the global capitalist cores.

These flows of embodied time, as this dissertation shows, take away the conditions for local landscapes in Serbia and other peripheries of global capitalism to be reproduced in the future (through social reproduction and environmental regeneration) and instead turn them into landscapes of social and environmental destruction and degeneration. Yet local citizens continue to exhibit endurance in their attempts to reclaim a sense of say in deciding on their own futures and to continue producing locality on their own terms.