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International conference: Enikő Veress, social researcher, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania In search.

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Presentation on theme: "International conference: Enikő Veress, social researcher, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania In search."— Presentation transcript:

1 International conference: Enikő Veress, social researcher, Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania In search of the true community-community animators for the welfare of the rural (case-study from Romanias Western region)

2 In search of the true community... What is the true community? The idea of community backdates from Confucius via Ibn-Khaldun and St. Thomas Aquinas; Community studies considered that in the eighties were 72 definitions of the community (Bell &Newby); Sociological approach: » founding fathers like Tocqueville, Comte, Tönnies, Le Play, Marx and Durkheim): c. is an institution registering a collapse caused to the industrial revolutions of the 19th-20 th century Europe and North-America;

3 In search of the true community 's: Ruth Glass: community is the poor sociologist's substitute for the novel (Glass); 80s-90s: an approach that focuses more on the non- economical aspects (see the Neo-Durkheimian definition of the community that will be used as theoretical basing through the presentatio, but having the very important structural demensions: differentiation, pluralism and solidarity(Young)

4 In search of the true community.... Where did I look for the real community? The object of the case-study is Mera, a specific Transylvanian rural community situated in the area of influence of Cluj, the greatest city in Transylvania. Why this community? It is a traditional example of how modernity and tradition have emerged, on the economic and social aspects, and affecting the traditional culture of the community.

5 In search of the true community The history of the community involvement in Mera Presentation of the rural community the village of Mera is situated at 13 kilometers from the county-seat, Cluj-Napoca in the metropolitan area of Cluj;, under the administration of the commune-centre of Baciu); Total population (census 2002): 1419 inhabitants has a multiethnic (Hungarians and Rromas) and multi-confessional structure (Calvinists, Jehova's Witnesses)

6 The history of community involvement n Mera (2002) an important category of Rromas (21%) who live in families situated at the periphery of the community, mostly with temporary or/and low paid jobs (300 out of the 1419 inhabitants).the lead of the local Calvinist priest community programmes was initiated, mostly connected to the marginalised social groups, this leading to the development of the local economy and community life..

7 In search of the true community Local social and cultural context Their children are mostly exposed to the early school abandon, as most of the parents consider that they do not have enough financial resources to support their children s education, in the same time as they have a low level of education, so exposed to this kind of reproduction., so children are doomed to follow the same pa mentality, education is not considered as a tool for upward social mobility. Traditional economic structure: subsistence agriculture (buffalos-)

8 In search of the true community..... History of the extralocal community involvement 1 st stage: Communist period Ceausescu's policy of systematisation of the rural area; The help of the international organisation of the OVR (Operation Villages Roumaines) that has come into being as a response to this hidden will to destroy mainly Transylvanian villages (active ). 2 nd stage: 90s: Dutch Calvinist Church community animators coming from the Netherlands and Germany, with a collaboration with the local actors, mainly the local Calvinist priest. First projects: help of the improvement of the health infrastructure, contributing to the welfare of the community); NGO involvement of the Diakonia Foundation, an NGO founded and supported by Transylvanian Calvinist Church.

9 In search of the true community rd stage: interiorisation of the need of community animation: Local actors got activated, mostly local intelligentsia with the highest level of social capital (trust); Implementation of social projects: After- school for the Rroma pupils from the elementary school; Common actions of the Rroma and Hungarian youngsters (local football championships) demolating the barriers between those communities; 4 th stage: applying for EU funds step after step projects for the development of the human capital: help of the social and community workers of the Diakonia Foundation;

10 Conclusions Transfer of knowledge from external sources is done more successfully if it is a gradual one (as it was in the case of Mera for more than 25 years, the interiorisation by the local community is more sustainable..... Future?.....

11 In the search for the true community Thank you for your attention! Contact: Eniko Veress,


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