East European Communities: The Struggle for Balance in Turbulent Times

By David A. Kideckel | Go to book overview
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14
A Rural Business Class
in Transition:
Observations
from a Polish Region

Joanna Smigielska


Defining Rural Entrepreneurs

A period of systemic transformation is a most interesting time for researchers of everyday life. Things that used to be self-evident and established now undergo rapid change, quite often of a radical nature. Practically overnight new principles of community organization and operation enter into force even as people's attitudes and concepts of the world are changed. This chapter focuses its observations on a sample of individuals representative of rural business interests and shows how such individuals have changed under the new conditions. What the observations make especially clear is the irrationalism of the former system of Realsozializmus but the inability of individuals to break totally away from these conditions.

My observation was conducted in central Poland, in Plock province. The villages which I examined surround a town with the population of about fifty thousand, approximately 120 kilometers away from Warsaw. The region, called the Mazovian Plains, has a flat landscape and rich soil. The settlements are situated along communication routes and have a compact form. An average farm consists of a brick house, at least one farm building, and a garden. The yard is rectangular. Each village has at least one department store, with larger ones with fire and police stations. Of particular importance in the region, is that the land

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East European Communities: The Struggle for Balance in Turbulent Times
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