"After the Industrial Dream/Nightmare: Experiences, Memories and Expectations of the (De)Industrialization in Southeastern Europe in comparison": Conference with Ulf Brunnbauer, Peter Wegenschimmel and Max Trecker in Resita
On July 12 and 13, 2018, Prof. Dr. Ulf Brunnbauer, speaker of the Graduate School in Regensburg, doctoral student Peter Wegenschimmel and alumnus Max Trecker took part in a conference in Resita, Romania. Under the heading "After the Industrial Dream/Nightmare: Experiences, Memories and Expectations of the (De)Industrialization in Southeastern Europe in comparison" they discussed changes in the industrial landscape.
The conference was organized by the Babeş-Bolyayi University Cluj and the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies in Regensburg as a cooperation with the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies in Munich and Regensburg.
Researchers from Romania, Germany, Austria, Greece, Italy and Serbia discussed historic and current dimensions of both industrialization and deindustrialization. Among other things, it was stressed that widespread narratives of deindustrialization after the time of state socialism must be questioned, because in addition to the loss of industries there is a striking resilience and, in many places, a reindustrialization - but often as an extended workbench in Western companies. As was evident in the lectures and discussions, a modern economic history in Eastern and Southeastern Europe presents many challenges.
Peter Wegeschimmel spokee about the Polish Gdynia shipyard and analzyed the ambivalent role of the state in the course of industrial restructuring. He showed that, after state socialism, companies transformed to "black boxes" whose processes were intransparent for the outside world. Ulf Brunnbauer compared the fate of two former model companies, the Kremikovci steel plant in Bulgaria and the Uljanik shipyard in Pula, and asked why the latter is still producing whilst the former went bankrupt. And Max Trecker discussed the attempts of the Treuhandanstalt to privatize the state-owned enterprises in the former GDR to allow former private entrepreneurs - of which there were manz in the GDR until the early 1970s - to come into play.
The venue could not have been chosen better: In Southeastern Europe, few places (if any) can be found, with such a rich industrial tradition, dating back to the 18th century. After 1989, many industrial jobs were lost, but not all - as the participants in the conference were able to experience with their own eyes during an impressive tour of the TMK Resita steelworks.
Photos: © Leibniz-Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung