Polish Countryside in Times of Transition: Myths and Reality
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Polish Academy of Sciences
Publication date: 2010-01-05
Polish Sociological Review 2009;168(4):575–594
Any attempt to recapitulate research findings on the countryside during the transition period should not neglect the prevailing view of the countryside in sociology. The systemic transformation in Poland did not bring a parallel transformation in thinking within sociology. The prevailing paradigm is that of modernisation, i.e. an anti-rural view which sees the countryside as an inferior sector, doomed to adapt to current trends: to communist rules before 1989 and to market economy and civil society rules at present. Numerical data for the last 60 years, reflecting the essential social and economic transformations in the countryside and agriculture, suggest a viewpoint which is different from the prevailing one. The agrarian segment has not been undergoing a transformation but, rather, desolation. The latter is a consequence of another modernisation paradox experienced by Poland after 1989, i.e. transformations effectively financed by the countryside and implemented at the expense of the country’s rural areas.