Date of Award

Spring 1984

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This dissertation constitutes a sociological study of the problem of legitimacy. Yugoslavia serves as a case study and the basis for some general propositions. Following the definition of legitimacy the sources of the initial legitimacy of Communist governments are analyzed. While the general socio-economic conditions which accompanied the introduction of the Communist rule in Eastern Europe were also shared by Yugoslavia, the subsequent decentralization of Yugoslav economy altered that state of affairs. The manifest intention behind the introduction of the mechanism of self-management in economy and state administration was to enhance the grass-root influence over that decision-making. That goal has not been met. But, the unintended consequence of self-management has been the facilitation of the maintenance of the authority of the League of Yugloslav Communists and its leadership. This can be explained by the role of wages which constitute the primary focus of both workers' interest in self-managerial decision-making and its definition by Yugoslav law, and by the role played self-management in societal conflicts in Yugoslavia. It transforms structurally generated contradictions into local conflicts which don't involve the basic principles of the socio-political structure of Yugoslavia. This, in turn, reinforces the position of the party as the strategic decision-maker and the major stimulator of necessary reforms.