Green Barons, Force-of-Circumstance Entrepreneurs, Impotent Mayors: Rural Change in the Early Years of Post-Socialist Capitalist Democracy

Green Barons, Force-of-Circumstance Entrepreneurs, Impotent Mayors: Rural Change in the Early Years of Post-Socialist Capitalist Democracy

Green Barons, Force-of-Circumstance Entrepreneurs, Impotent Mayors: Rural Change in the Early Years of Post-Socialist Capitalist Democracy

Green Barons, Force-of-Circumstance Entrepreneurs, Impotent Mayors: Rural Change in the Early Years of Post-Socialist Capitalist Democracy

Synopsis

This comparative history investigates rural communities in six east-Central Europe countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Most of them experienced in the 1990s the fourth radical restructuring of agricultural relations of the twentieth century, and, more challengingly, an historically unprecedented trajectory from socialism to capitalism. The author considers similarity and difference in the linked processes of breathing real democratic life into the structures of local democracy and recreating farming structures and non-agricultural businesses based on private ownership and private enterprise

Excerpt

This book has been a long time coming, but I trust that readers will agree that it was worth the wait. the research on which it is based was conducted in the 1990s and although articles by myself and others based on the project appeared in that decade and immediately after, it has taken a long time to analyse all of the research materials in depth and contextualise them to produce a book-length manuscript which both synthesises all of the findings for all six countries and locates them within the historical moment at which the research took place. This is a book not just about identifying and analysing the rural social change associated with the decollectivisation of agriculture in Eastern Europe, it is also about recovering the historical moment of that change; and in six countries which approached the common project in different ways and from different starting points. It is a work of contemporary comparative history, which began as comparative sociology. I hope that its findings will be of interest to anyone, from whatever academic discipline or none, who is curious about: large-scale social change (including class formation), generally; everyday life (in rural communities) during the early years of post-socialism in Eastern Europe, more specifically; and pathways from socialist to post-socialist agriculture in particular.

Although I am the sole author of the text that follows and bear full responsibility for errors of fact, interpretation and omission, I am deeply indebted to both individuals and institutions without whom it would not have been possible. Above all I owe a debt of gratitude to the following colleagues who carried out the bulk of the interviews and . . .

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