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From policy to misery? The State Agricultural Farms vs. 'the rural'

Journal article
Authors Jadwiga Biegańska
Mirek Dymitrow
Elżbieta Grzelak-Kostulska
Stefania Środa-Murawska
Published in Quaestiones Geographicae
Volume 38
Issue 4
Pages 77–90
ISSN 2082-2103
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Economy and Society, Unit for Human Geography
Mistra Urban Futures
Pages 77–90
Language en
Keywords post-socialist estates, Eastern Europe, rural development, rurality, transformation
Subject categories Human Geography, Sociology, Other Agricultural Sciences, Public Administration Studies, Economics and Business


1989 was a turning point within the socio-economic development in the former Eastern bloc, initiating a system transformation that affected the society at large. It also contributed to the crystallisation of certain cultural landscapes, hitherto largely illegible due to the inhibition of spatial processes encountered during Communism. In Poland, after a quarter-century of free market economy, the focus on social problems began to expand to the spatial realm as well. It became apparent that the progressive social polarisation that followed was most prominent in environments striated by a particular landscape type – the former State Agricultural Farm (PGR). Considering PGRs “the epitome of rurality” subject to ideas informing the direction of contemporary “rural development” prompts a different way of looking at the problem. In this paper, we investigate the concept of rurality in the discursive tenor of implemented policy and contrast it with contextualised empirical examples. Our findings suggest that efficient policy should be confronted with the expectations of residents at the local level, while introducing top-down actions usually ends in failure as in the case of post-PGR estates.

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