What’s in a Beer? Cultures that Interact in Brewery Privatization

  • Ildiko Erdei Department of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
privatization, beer, cultures, socialism, capitalism, Serbia


This paper is based on a study of a local beer factory, located in the Serbian province of Vojvodina, which recently went through the privatization process. At the end of 2003, the Pančevo Brewery was taken over by Efes Group, thus becoming the most western operation in the process of Efes spreading across the European market. Although it is customary to conceptualize privatization as a purely economic issue, research of the privatization of such a local company by a large international producer provided us with an opportunity to observe, analyze and interpret various ways in which economy and culture inter-reacted, and became mutually dependent. The field of economic change was observed as a space of cultural transformation, where business, organizational and working cultures of “socialism” and “capitalism” met and influenced each other, both on institutional and personal levels. Different notions of “culture” that illustrate the increasing “culturalization” of economy at the turn of the century were singled out. Particular attention was paid to socialism as a legacy, operating through narrative and residual practices. At the same time, this legacy was an obstacle for desired change as well as a source for sustaining a sense of personal worth among employees faced with the approaching hegemonic narrative of “capitalism triumphant”.


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How to Cite
Erdei, Ildiko. 2011. “What’s in a Beer? Cultures That Interact in Brewery Privatization”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 6 (1), 57- 85. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v6i1.2.

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