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  • Author: Krzysztof Gorlach x
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Women on… Combine Harvesters? Women as Farm Operators in Contemporary Poland

Abstract

The authors discuss the main characteristics of women as farm operators using national sample studies conducted in 1994, 1999 and 2007. After an analysis of literature and various research results some hypotheses were formulated, i.e.: the better education of rural women than rural men, women as “unnatural” or “forced” farm operators due to various household circumstances, the “weaker” economic status of farms operated by women. Basic results of the studies carried out in 1994, 1999 and 2007 confirm the hypothesis about the weaker economic position of female operated farms. Moreover, women farm operators were slightly older and far better educated than their male counterparts. On the contrary, the males were more active off the farms in the public sphere. In addition, the circumstances of becoming farm operators did not differ significantly between males and females. Finally, there were no significant differences between “male” and “female” styles of farming.

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Culture and Rural Development: Voices from Poland

Abstract

The paper is focused on the issue of culture and its connections to rural developments. It was based on the assumption that the culture has various impacts on rural communities` life, as well as, it has been present in various ways in functioning and changes that might be observed in rural areas. In our opinion, such a perspective should be presented in a more detailed way in order to stress the multiple and various impact of cultural issues on economic and social transformations in rural areas. Therefore, we divided our paper into three consecutive parts. In the first one, we discussed the multi-dimensional image of culture, and its role in human development. In the second one, we discussed some changes in the mechanisms of rural development, perceived as moving from the traditional to the contemporary one. We wanted to stress that culture seems to be an important part of the latter one. The last part of our considerations brought some empirical evidence from Poland focused on the role of culture in rural developments showing, at the same type, some examples of this new mechanism of rural development.

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Cooperative Movements in Rural Areas in Contemporary Poland: A Brief Comparison of Farmers’ Attitudes of Members and Non-memebrs of Coooperatives

Abstract

In this paper the authors consider some issues concerning the problems of rural cooperatives in contemporary Poland. In the first part, the important role of cooperatives in agricultural changes as well as rural development has been stressed, especially as an opposition to neo-liberal tendencies in the food economy. In such a context, the authors would like to compare some opinions concerning cooperative movements presented by farmers who are members and non-members of cooperatives. The characteristics of respondents contain some information about their sex, age, level of education as well as ownership status, including also the size of the possessed farms. Moreover, the presentation of attitudes has been focussed on the issues of cooperation with other farmers as well as general trust in others. The issues of knowledge about cooperative ideas and contemporary cooperative movements have been taken into consideration. In the final part of the empirical analysis some opinions concerning major obstacles to the development of cooperative movements have been considered. To conclude the whole paper the authors stress some differences in opinions and attitudes between members and non-members of cooperatives. However, what seems to be even more important is that even farmers who are members of cooperatives lacked sufficient knowledge on issues that make cooperatives successful.

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Think Locally and Act Globally: Understanding Human Development in the Era of Globalisation

Abstract

For well over two decades the phrase “Think Global, Act Local” shaped the rhetoric used by social movements, environmental activists and intellectuals critical of the neoliberal narrative of globalisation. The intention was to obtains ideas and solutions elaborated in various parts of the world implemented in local communities and to give special meaning to progressive proposals of international social movement contesting globalisation. This approach could certainly be beneficial in terms of the diffusion of good environmental practices or spreading civil society ideas in developing countries.

However, when global ideas reach local ground, they remain global ideas, and sometimes very foreign ones, which may take over or eclipse local concepts in unintended or less-than-ideal ways. Occasionally, this approach could even lead to overpowering what is local instead of empowering it. Therefore, having the empowerment of local communities in mind, we propose that those who really contest globalisation of the neoliberal narrative should turn the tables and work to “Think Locally, Act Globally.”

Thinking locally and acting globally helps to ensure that adequate attention will be paid to local needs and local ideas. Presently, no local community exists outside of the global context and its influences, which affects the writings of contemporary sociologists who tend to emphasise the concept of “place” when analysing local communities. The nature of bonds on the local level changes in the globalised world, as local communities become more goal-oriented, utilising the functional proximity of people and other assets of the community. These new types of communities emerge even in places previously recognised as being shaped by local customs and traditions.

These changes can be seen in the rural, semi-rural and small-town communities of Zalipie and Dąbrowa Tarnowska in Małopolska, as well as Radzionków in Silesia and in the nationwide study of rural communities in Poland. Their potential as the communities of the new type can be recognised as matching with neo-endogenous and sustainable development concepts.

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