The Polish Countryside in the Process of Transformation 1989-2009
The author of this essay argues that, when viewed from a longer time perspective, four major processes have been taking place in the Polish countryside, changing its character, just as they have been doing in other Western and Eastern European countries: deruralization, deagrarianization, development of a new model of agriculture (peasantization/depeasantization) and restratification. These processes are changing 1) the place of the countryside in society, 2) the place of agriculture in society and the economy as well as 3) the structure of the countryside as a social subsystem. These changes have been taking place throughout the last two decades, albeit with different speeds in different segments of time. Three of these processes, deruralization, deagrarianization and restratification, are continuations of processes which were already in motion before 1989. Their dynamics do not differ from the Western and Central- Eastern European canon. A fourth,more original process can also be detected in the development of a new agrarian model, however, adjustment of the post-communist structure of agricultural production to market economy.