Farming Families in Rural Communities

Changing Rural Social Organisation in a Modern and Postmodern World

Authored by: Krzysztof Gorlach , Paweł Starosta

Routledge International Handbook of Rural Studies

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138804371
eBook ISBN: 9781315753041
Adobe ISBN: 9781317619864

10.4324/9781315753041.ch43

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Abstract

In attempting to create a comprehensive analytical framework for changes in rural areas Bogusław Gałęski (1972) proposed a three-level scheme involving farming families (micro), local communities (meso) and the social category of farmers embedded in the structure of the national society (macro). However, given the processes of globalisation in recent years, such a perspective requires some reconsideration. First of all, thanks to the processes of globalisation, the three layers mentioned above cannot be treated as separate levels of social organisation but rather as integrated parts of rural social networks (Murdoch, 2006; Pakulski, 2009). Moreover, we would argue that the transformation of rural communities with significant agricultural activities (meso layer) seems to be, on the one hand, a result of the pressures of global forces, and on the other, the context of changing family farming situations. Therefore, our chapter has been designed as a two-part argument. The first part examines major aspects of rural community transformations. The second examines problems faced by farming families in the context of the changing communities in which they are embedded. We focus on farming family issues for two important reasons: (a) family farms constitute the major component of pre-modern rural areas both in Europe and in North America; and (b) changes in family farms are a basic dimension of rural social reorganisation in this part of the world under the processes of modernisation and post-modernisation. We first sketch important dimensions of rural community change in the global north, and then consider how these changes have affected farming families living in rural space.

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