Kaleta Andrzej, Polish Rural Sociology of Transformation Period

Abstract: The period of political transformation brought Polish rural sociology new and difficult challenges of analyzing the social impact of the transition of society and the state from totalitarian to a democratic system.
At this time, formed within it two theoretical orientations. According to the first – referring to the theory of modernization – the desired direction of social change in rural areas and agriculture combined with the continuing urbanization and industrialization, through the implementation of the social practice of market development model. The second orientation – clearly anti-modernization referring to the concept of endogenous development and sustainable – points to the need to maintain family farms and the countryside as a band treatment timeless and priceless value of ecological and socio-cultural.
Theoretical background Polish rural sociology transformation period characterized by pluralism and clarifies the concept of ordering the social reality and the lack of coherent theory of rural development; not to mention the theory of development in the country transforming their social system. Her foster stable methodological basis generally good level of empirical research methodically. Although dominated by the referring primarily to the more or less indicative description of reality, a diagnostic survey as a method of solving problems and techniques of interview and questionnaire as the dominant method of determining the facts, but it can also be seen still living presence known. anthropological perspective.
An analysis of the most important publications that have appeared in the years 1989-2012 in Poland under the banner of social studies agriculture and rural areas, it appears that rural sociology Polish transformation period intensively penetrated three problem areas: changes in agriculture and transformations taking place within the social group professional farmers; the living conditions of the rural population and the transformation of rural communities. Considered to be particularly important recent research on this issue, including the transformation of the institutional and social capital, in conjunction with the more fundamental questions of construction in rural bases of civil society.
Basic theoretical challenge for Polish sociology is now clarifying the contemporary subject of her research. It faces the challenges in a more practical. Mainly due to the need to justify and promote political action for sustainable rural development and to monitor its effects. This means that the main area of interest will remain rural economic development; more than a decade without the rest of the requirements determined by integration of the Polish countryside and Polish agriculture to the structures of the European Union; and social development, conditioned by the construction of an information society in the country.
At least a question mark shall be affixed to the possibility of meeting the challenges indicated, as in the last two decades of the Polish rural sociology systematically weakens their institutional facilities.

Lutz Laschewski, After Transition is Before Transition. About the Time of Rural Change

Abstract: It is in the nature of public narratives that focal historical events are identified, when one social era has come to end and and a new era began – as if there were a clear dividing line between before and after, and as if there were eras of continuity and (short) eras of change. The narrative of post-socialist transition or system transformation is alike. It is pointing to a short period of time around 1989, after which a process started, which seemed to have no past (or only a past to overcome) and appeared to point to a more or less defined end. While from a pragmatic, political view such narratives are important, since they provide a shared understanding and offer orientation for all members of a society, and therewith the basis for collective action, from a sociological perspective one might take a more critical position. The narrative of system transformation as dominant social force often links social dynamics to this before/after or socialism/post-socialism frame, despite the fact that some, in particular long-term processes are rather disconnected from it. Thus, sometimes effects of socialism on society are exaggerated. Yet, at the same time the reversibility of structures created during socialism is in many cases limited. Hence, sometimes effects of socialism on society are underestimated. Both long term processes and path dependencies have meant considerable constraints for possible effects of system transformation. Even further, new, and at the time of system change unforeseen, social processes have moulded and re-directed the trajectories of system transformation. Subsequently, high expectations have often been disappointed. From todays perspective, the intended and unintended outcomes of the post-socialist transformation era in rural Central and Eastern Europe will shape future rural dynamics.
The paper seeks to illustrate some long term processes, path dependencies, new social dynamics, and intended and unintended outcomes of system transformation that shape today’s rural regions in Central and Eastern Europe. It is argued that the understanding of time, e.g. the duration, and sequence of social processes, but also the time perception, is important, yet under-investigated field for the analysis of rural change.

Nigel Swain, Eastern European Rurality a Quarter of a Century on

Abstract: My contribution endeavours to give an overview of the ways in which Eastern European rurality has changed in the quarter of a century or so that has elapsed since socialism collapsed. In particular it considers how the contradictory policy directions of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy have impacted on livelihoods and live chances in the rural communities of Eastern Europe. The picture is ambiguous. The CAP has increased the profitability of large-scale, post-socialist farms; it has made profitable family farming on a ‚modest’ scale, so attracting new entrants; and it helps sustain some eco-farming. But the situation for the majority for whom agriculture is not a major source of income is bleaker. Regional differentiation
has increased more dramatically than elsewhere, leaving many villages with aging populations dependent on social benefits complemented by subsistence farming. LEADER-type policies struggle to find the active citizens they are directed at. Rural local authorities receive ever-reduced finance, yet are expected to implement national policies. The rural landless, many of them Roma, are obliged to participate in workfare schemes with no perspectives for future employment.