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After a Long March: the Results of Two Decades of Rural Restructuring in Hungary

Abstract

This paper aims to show the main processes of rural restructuring of Hungary after the change of political system and EU integration. It describes the changes of agricultural land-use, new dynamics of urban rural relations and rural development of the last 25 years. In the paper, we argue that the most dynamic changes happened in the era of post-communism, ended by EU-accession and the era of consolidation.

A characteristic phenomenon of these changes was the urban demand for providing facilities related to rural landscape and culture. Therefore, permanent and temporary migrations into rural areas have become the most important element of development for rural places in the last decades. The introduction of a new Europeanised rural development system has shaped these processes and reconfigured local power relations, economic and social networks. These turbulent changes occurred at the same time with the collapse of the socialist-type co-operative and state farm system, along with the restitution and reprivatisation of land, resulting in the concentration of land use and agricultural production.

The paper aims at analysing these processes by discussing the dynamics of urban-rural relationships and the new rural development system, while the final part focuses on land-use changes and its impacts on rural society.

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