Green Barons, Force-of-Circumstance Entrepreneurs, Impotent Mayors
Rural Change in the Early Years of Post-Socialist Capitalist Democracy
An exemplary study in comparative contemporary history, this monograph looks at rural change in six countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. In the 1990s most of these nations experienced a fourth radical restructuring of agricultural relations in the twentieth century, and all went through the dramatic transition from communism to capitalism.
The author analyzes attempts to activate democracy on a local level and recreate farming structures and non-agricultural businesses based on private ownership and private enterprise. He describes the emergence of a new business class that seeks to dominate local government structures; the recuperation of former communist farming entities by former managers; and the transformation of peasants into rural citizens, who nevertheless remain the underdogs.
Swain exposes common features as well as specific divergences between the six countries; he portrays the winners, losers and engineers of transformations. He situates his themes in a wider context that will appeal to a broad range of social scientists and historians.
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