Capitalism from Outside? Economic Cultures in Eastern Europe after 1989

By János Mátyás Kovács; Violetta Zentai | Go to book overview

Transmitting Western Norms
The SAPARD Program in Eastern Europe

Katalin Kovács and Petya Kabakchieva


Introduction

This paper will analyze a European Union (EU) program called SAPARD (Special Accession Program for Agriculture and Rural Development) in six countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia.1

In this study SAPARD is regarded as a potential conveyor of Western norms and governance techniques to the East. It is not the program itself that attracted our interest; instead, we focused on the institutional changes it brought about. Is there any chance for a mutual understanding and recognition of differences and similarities on a playing field such as this? Can compromises be forged? What is the chance of hybridization in the newly established institutions? Although, according to our hypothesis, the path for softening the unequal position of the provider and the recipient during the East-West encounters was either non-existent or extremely narrow, we scrutinized all possible signals suggesting the emergence of hybrids.


Institution, Institutional Culture, Institutional Change

Institutions are commonly understood as structured and repeated actions aimed at achieving a particular goal. As Berger and Luckmann put it: “Institutionalization occurs whenever there is a reciprocal typification of habitualized actions by types of actors,” where habitualization is defined as any action that is repeated frequently and becomes a pattern which can then be reproduced (Berger and Luckmann 1967, 53–54). This definition does not work in a situation of intensive cul-

1 The authors of the case studies are as follows: Bulgaria: Petya Kabakchieva and Ilia Iliev; the Czech Republic: Blažena Matasová; Hungary: Katalin Kovács; Poland: Cezary Trutkowski; Romania: Florian Niţu; Slovenia: Darka Podmenik. The authors express deep gratitude to all of them.

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