Contesting social space in the Balkan region: the social dimensions of a “red” joint venture

Mairi Maclean, Graham Hollinshead

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This chapter sheds light on the MNC as a contested transnational social space in the Balkan region of south-east Europe by “deconstructing” a recent “red” joint venture from the perspectives of key stakeholders, “red” referring to the location of the MNC in question in countries belonging to the former communist bloc. The organizational focus of our analysis is the Serbian brewery Weisser, the oldest brewery in the Balkans, situated near Belgrade, and recently acquired by the Turkish-owned MNC Eden; the merger having taken place in an unstable and volatile environment, compared to a “tinderbox” ready to ignite (Lee 2006a). Through examining the merger from the grounded positions of key social actors – indigenous employees, union officials, local Serbian and “westernized” managers, exposed to new market-oriented logics emanating from the west, fuelled by globalization – we discern both conflicting and consonant interests and rationalities relating to the establishment and early operations of the cross-border joint venture. Our study is informed by the work of Zgymunt Bauman (2000; 2007; Bauman and Vecchi 2004) on identity and Pierre Bourdieu (1984; 1990a; 1990b) on the notion of “habitus.” Habitus is conceived by Bourdieu as the ingrained, socially constituted dispositions of social classes that lead actors to make choices and decisions that reproduce existing social structures and status distinctions, orienting their actions and inclinations without precisely determining them.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitics and Power in the Multinational Corporation
Subtitle of host publicationThe Role of Institutions, Interests and Identities
EditorsC. Dorrenbacher, M. Geppert
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages33
ISBN (Print)9780521197175
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


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