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Krzysztof Gorlach, Zbigniew Drąg

Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.

Topic: From Peasant Farm to Family Business: The Changing Face of Rural Entrepreneurship in the Peculiar Case of Poland


In the first part, the authors argue that the move to entrepreneurship in rural areas has showed not only changes of rural local communities but, also, more general changes in state-nation society. While in Western Europe this process has been quite simple as moving from peasant farm to the farmer (entrepreneur) one (“the end of peasantry”, as it has been called by the French sociologist Henri Mendras), quite contrary in the Central-Eastern part of the continent, this process has been quite complicated. After the World War II most of the Central-East European countries have experienced the Soviet-type collectivization. Such a process has meant that independent peasants became simply the workers in the state-owned farms. However, the case of Poland that generally resisted the Soviet-type collectivization has seemed to require a special attention. Following this line of argument and, at the same time, trying to show the results of this process in Poland, the authors have conducted two series of research basing on two national samples analyses, done in the years of 1994 (data collected under the project: KBN 1/1628/92/03) and 2017 (data collected under the project supported by Narodowe Centrum Nauki [National Science Center of Poland] – UMO-2015/18/A/HS6/00114).

The second part of the paper has been focused on the results of the research. The authors have commented on the following issues: a/ basic characteristics of the investigated farms, b/ basic characteristics of farm operators; c/ basic types and direction of the production among investigated farms; d/ major types of connections with markets among investigated farms; e/ types of labor used among investigated farms; f/ types of financial resources among investigated farms; g/ sources of incomes among investigated farms. Following the analyses of the above mentioned data the authors have pointed some basic characteristics of Polish family farms showing the increasing importance of farms with various incomes and the higher level of cultural capital of farm operators. The above analyzed processes mean that one might stress “the end of peasantry” in a different way than it has been presented by Mendras. The result of modernization and post-modernization of a peasant community of Polish farmers has resulted in the mixed picture of contemporary rural Poland, including various types of farms and various activities of their operators.

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