Ivan Rajkovic, MA PhD


Contact Details

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Vienna
NIG, 4th floor
Room: C 0422

T: +43-1-4277-49561
E-Mail: ivan.rajkovic@univie.ac.at

Office Hours

Previous registration by email


Current Courses: u:find

Research Focus Areas

  • labour and welfare
  • moral economy
  • political ecology
  • Serbia, Yugoslavia, the Balkans



Short Biography

Ivan Rajković started his career with a PhD dissertation in social anthropology at the University of Manchester (2015). Before arriving to the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna in 2019, he was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, University College London (2015-2017) and a Research Fellow in Eurasia group at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (2017-2019).

Rajković’s first research has explored the transformations of the ‘social question’ after Yugoslavia, and moralisations of labour and market in Europe’s peripheries. Focusing on the aftermath of a Yugoslav ‘giant’ - the ‘Zastava’ car plant in Kragujevac, Serbia – he described workers’ struggles to fashion a deserving position in prolonged factory slowdown, and the ambiguous value of what he calls ‘mock-labour’. The result are grassroots yearnings for ‘proper capitalism' as a promise of social legitimacy and moral redemption. Rajković is currently finishing a book manuscript titled 'The Gift of Work: (Un)productivity and the Social Question in a Post-Yugoslav Factory'.

Rajković’s new postdoc project at the University of Vienna explores the shift from work to ‘nature’ as the basis of new political alliances in the Balkans. This research focuses on the pan-regional development of small hydro-power-plants – a technology free of carbon emissions, but based on piping rivers and streams, with devastating socio-environmental footprint. In the popular imagination, such developments are seen as overstepping the limits of commodification and political agonism, and endangering the reproduction of ‘life’ itself. Focusing on the ageing regions in the Balkan Mountains in Southeast Serbia, West Bulgaria and Northern Macedonia, where such processes are compounded by rapid depopulation and fervent pensioner-cum-environmentalist insurgencies, this project will look at care for nature, intergenerational relations, and competing notions of commons that are arise from ‘green grabs’. The study is imagined as a building block for thinking about wider contemporary ‘eco-populisms’ - alliances that disparate groups create under the banner of ‘life itself’ – as well as new forms of expanded kinship and eco-authority making and breaking postsocialist states today.

Selected Publications

  • 2019. 'Yugoslav Peasants Land Apollo 8'. Anthropology News, 60(4): 3-5.

  • 2018. 'For an anthropology of the demoralized: state pay, mock-labour, and unfreedom in a Serbian firm'. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 24(1): 47-70. 

  • 2017. 'Concern for the state: ‘normality’, state effect and distributional claims in Serbia'. Bulletin of the Ethnographic Institute SASA 65(1): 31-45.

  • 2017. 'From familial to familiar: corruption, political intimacy and the reshaping of relatedness in Serbia'. In Thelen, T. and E. Alber (Eds.) Reconnecting State and Kinship, 130-154. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania University Press.