Chiara Bonfiglioli

junior fellow
EURIAS cohort 2016/2017
discipline History
Newfelpro post-doctoral fellow, Juraj Dobrila University of Pula

Research project

A Gendered History of Labour in the Post-Yugoslav Region: The Garment Industry between Socialism and Post-Socialism (1945-2015)


The study conducted during the EURIAS fellowship proposes a gendered history of labour, industrialisation and deindustrialisation in the post-Yugoslav region. The book will focus on the case study of the garment industry, exploring the under-researched theme of women’s working lives under socialism and post-socialism, from 1945 until the present days.


Scholarly discussions on the violent break-up of Yugoslavia have tended to focus on the political and economic aspects of war and transition, as well as on the re-drawing of nation-states and ethnic constituencies, overshadowing the social impact of these transformations on ordinary citizens. The proposed study will argue that the issue of women’s labour can serve as a prism to understand the complexity of social history and social citizenship in Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav citizenship regimes.


The traditionally feminised garment industry thrived during Yugoslav times: In the 1970s and 1980s, the sector covered approximately 12% of total manufacturing and Yugoslavia was among the leading producers of garments worldwide. After the break-up of Yugoslavia, however, processes of privatisation and deindustrialisation deeply affected the textile sector, leading to factory closures, precarious work and unemployment. Many women who had accessed the labour market during socialism lost their job, and this process contributed to the re-traditionalisation of gender relations brought by nationalist discourses and ethnic war. The case of the garment industry, therefore, can serve as a vantage point for a diachronic study of industrialisation, deindustrialisation and post-socialist transition, assessing the common legacy of the state socialist industrial heritage in post-Yugoslav states, as well as the similar yet differentiated process of industrial ruination which occurred in the last twenty years.


The book will be based on different case studies of textile factories in five Yugoslav republics, now post-Yugoslav successor states: Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia (Montenegro and Kosovo are not included since they did not present a sizeable textile industry). Bringing gender history, transnational social history and post-socialist studies into dialogue, it will combine a variety of sources: official reports, policy-making documents, factory newspapers, fashion magazines and oral history interviews with former and current workers and management staff in the garment industry.




Chiara Bonfiglioli is Newfelpro Post-doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Cultural and Historical Research of Socialism (CKPIS) at Juraj Dobrila University Pula. She holds a Ph.D in Gender Studies from the Research Institute for History and Culture (OGC), University of Utrecht. From 2012 to 2014, she worked as research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, within the CITSEE research project on citizenship in post-Yugoslav states. Her research interests include South Eastern European history, transnational women’s history, post-colonial and post-socialist studies, and oral history.


Selected publications


'Cold War Gendered Imaginaries of Citizenship and Transnational Women’s Activism: The Case of the Movie 'Die Windrose' (1957)', in R.G. Fuchs & A. Epstein (eds), Gender and Citizenship in Historical and Transnational Perspective, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 2016, pp. 166-185. [forthcoming]


'Transformations of Gender, Sexuality and Citizenship in South East Europe', with K. Kahlina & A. Zaharijević, Women’s Studies International Forum, vol. 49, 2015, pp. 43-47.


'Gendered Citizenship in the Global European Periphery: Textile Workers in Post-Yugoslav States', Women’s Studies International Forum, vol. 49, 2015, pp. 57-65.


'Red Girls’ Revolutionary Tales: Antifascist Women’s Autobiographies in Italy', Feminist Review, vol. 106, 2014, pp. 60-77.


'Nomadic Theory as an Epistemology for Transnational Feminist History', in B. Blaagaard & I. van der Tuin (eds), The Subject of Rosi Braidotti: Politics and Concepts, Bloomsbury, London, 2014, pp. 198-207.



senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2013/2014
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Political Science
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2016/2017
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Literature
junior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2012/2013
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Philosophy
senior fellow
EURIAS promotion 2014/2015
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (IWM)
discipline Communication