Family entrepreneurship in the countryside: Some details of the portrait

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The article is an interim result of many years of studies focused on the wide range of issues related to the development of farmers’ movement, to the interaction of contemporary rural entrepreneurs with government, rural population and colleagues in production activities. This project (field expeditions of 2018-2019) aims at assessing the challenges and prospects of the two key social institutions of the Russian village - local authorities and entrepreneurs - in terms of the dominant scenarios of their interaction and their role in stabilizing the situation in rural areas. This two-year field studies repeat the expeditions of a decade ago combining quantitative and qualitative approaches in the study of specific cases - settlements that represent the features of the Non-Black Earth regions of Russia. The author focuses on the issue actually ignored by researchers of agricultural problems - family entrepreneurship in the countryside. In the introduction, the author provides a brief overview of the specifics of the rural lifestyle in pre-revolutionary Russia. The first part of the article considers social-economic processes in the countryside during the Soviet period, which laid the foundation for the problems that determined the paths of the post-Soviet rural development. The second part of the article presents the features of the post-Soviet period in the life of the village, mainly based on the data of field expeditions to the Russian Non-Black Earth regions in 2004-2008. And, finally, the third part of the article summarizes the author’s first impressions and some results of the 2019 field expeditions and identifies permanent challenges for rural entrepreneurs. For instance, in almost every rural area of the Russian Non-Black Earth regions, one can meet farmers who strive to create a family business but are forced to take numerous tricks to achieve their goal, as if proving M. Certeau theory of resistance of the “weak” to the “strong”.

About the authors

O B Bozhkov

Sociological Institute branch - of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.

старший научный сотрудник

7th Krasnoarmeiskaya St., 25/14, Saint Petersburg, 190005, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2019 Bozhkov O.B.

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