UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)

Dr Rory Archer

Dr Rory Archer

Mellon Post- Doctoral Fellow



Joined UCL
1st Sep 2016

Research summary

I am a social historian who works on the 20th century Balkans. I am interested in labour, gender, (post)socialism and the ways in which macro level events and processes are experienced, understood and negotiated in micro, everyday contexts. I received my PhD in History from the University of Graz in December 2015 (supervised by Florian Bieber and Karl Kaser). My dissertation used (non-)access to housing among working class Belgraders as a means to explore patterns of social inequalities and discontent in late Yugoslav socialism (1974-1991). Recently, I coedited a book on this topic titled Social inequalities and discontent in Yugoslav Socialism (Routledge 2016).

Since 2014 I have worked on a research project of which I am co-author: Between class and nation: Working class communities in 1980s Serbia and Montenegro financed by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). I continue to explore the role of politicised labour and working class subjectivities in the crises of late Yugoslav socialism and the demise of the state.

As Mellon Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, I focus on female (non-)participation in local political institutions during late socialism. I examine ways in which power relations were reproduced, ignored, renegotiated and challenged in everyday exchanges in the workplace and local community. The research is initially focused on Yugoslavia but by extending the scope and undertaking two additional case studies in neighbouring Hungary and Bulgaria, I seek insight as to whether the phenomenon in question was a consequence of Yugoslav specificities (self-managing market-socialism) or indicative of a broader socialist structuring of gender relations. Close to the everyday lives of individuals, local party-state institutions are productive yet underexplored sites to interrogate state-society relations, in this case from the perspectives of female workers through oral history and other Alltagsgeschichte methods.