Agricultural cooperation in the Northern Non-Black-Earth Region: formal and informal practices

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Based on the review of the research on the relationship between cooperation and self-organization in the rural development of Russia and other countries, and also taking into account the recent trends in the international cooperative movement, the authors present the results of the sociological research conducted in 2005-2008, and then in 2018-2019 in nine rural areas of five subjects of the Russian Federation: Leningrad, Vologda, Novgorod, Arkhangelsk and Tver Regions of the Northern Non-Black-Earth Region. These empirical studies were comparative case studies based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches. The authors consider the historical and contemporary specifics of cooperation and self-organization of the Non-Black-Earth Region as compared to other Russian regions; identify theoretical and practical differences between the concepts ‘cooperation’, ‘self-organization’, ‘mutual assistance’; propose to use the concept ‘symbiosis’ for the analytical explanation of paradoxes of the interaction of traditions and innovations in practices of rural cooperation and mutual assistance. In the final part of the article, the authors provide empirical examples from their sociological studies in the Northern Non-Black-Earth Region, which prove the efficiency of cooperation between local entrepreneurs and rural communities, especially provided measures and programs of the state support to cooperation. The authors emphasize the importance of the symbiosis of formal and informal local cooperative practices, which requires an extremely flexible cooperative policy in order to overcome the legacy of the Soviet bureaucratic overregulation and to revive the historical legacy of the local self-organization of rural communities.

About the authors

O. B. Bozhkov

Sociological Institute - branch of the FCTAS RAS

Author for correspondence.

старший научный сотрудник

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

A. M. Nikulin

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration


кандидат экономических наук, директор Центра аграрных исследований

Vernadskogo Prosp., 82, Moscow, 119571, Russia

I. K. Poleshchuk

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration


научный сотрудник Центра аграрных исследований

Vernadskogo Prosp., 82, Moscow, 119571, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2020 Bozhkov O.B., Nikulin A.M., Poleshchuk I.K.

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