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Habitus vs. economic rationality The transformation of a socialist type co-operative – the case of the “Arany Sárfehér” Cooperative Megyesi Boldizsár Institute.

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Presentation on theme: "Habitus vs. economic rationality The transformation of a socialist type co-operative – the case of the “Arany Sárfehér” Cooperative Megyesi Boldizsár Institute."— Presentation transcript:

1 Habitus vs. economic rationality The transformation of a socialist type co-operative – the case of the “Arany Sárfehér” Cooperative Megyesi Boldizsár Institute of Sociology – Hungarian Academy of Sciences 20 years of farming and Rural Transition in Eastern Europe: what have we learned? Dijon, France October 2011.

2 Outline Methods and data; The story – Historical background;  Socialist type co-operatives and the State Farm at Izsák;  The new-type cooperative; Theories to understand the changes Analysis

3 The background of the research EU-FP6; COFAMI research (www.cofami.org )www.cofami.org Collective Farmers’ Marketing Initiatives; Methods: Transect walking, document analysis, 17 semi structured interviews (context analysis of 4 interviews)

4 The research area Geographical coverage Izsák and other 18 neighboring villages (within a radius of 20 km). Type of members Mainly small-scale and part-time farmers but also some family farms. Size Number of members: 450, Agricultural area: 1211 hectares (from 0,5 to 130 hectares per farm), Quantity of grape produced in 2006: 5,600 t from which 2,000 t was processed by the Cooperative.

5 Farming in Izsák before 1945 Special farming methods:  Viticulture, fruits and vegetables are cultivated;  Private (family farms) (smaller then 25 hectares);  Main market: the capital (Budapest);  Sold as grape.

6 1. The “Sárfehér” Socialist-type cooperative & and the State Farm In the seventies:  Cooperative and large-scale state farm (champagne factory) was established in Izsák based on the local vine production – present chairman of the COFAMI and also many farmers were employed here.  Modernization: plant protection, machinery, bigger plots  Procession of the grape: champagne and wine.

7 1. After the changes of the regime: 1999: Management buy-out & Hungarian investors; The champagne factory was privatised by Hungarians, well-known brands were developed - present leader of the COFAMI became a manager here. State cooperative were transformed, retained its cellar, but its coverage reduced. 2003: German owner – well known brands are sold, the factory closes; 2005: Liquidation. 2006: Local farmers buy-up the Champagne factory.

8 2. Theoretical background possible explanations  Bourdieu’s theory of practice  Habitus – „systems of durable, transposable dispositions” (Bourdieu, 1995:72);  Structuring structure, inner immanent law  Product of the social structure;  Produces the practice;  Critiques;  Metaphorical interpretation.  Embourgeoisement  Szelényi – interrupted embourgeoisement: House-hold farmers become entrepreneurs; Webers’ theory on cultural inheritance  Juhász – entrepreneurial characteristics: Individual solutions; Aims to gain prestige thanks to his/her own efforts; Become an entrepreneur – taking risk; The individual can leave her/his original community, and join a new one.

9 3. The memory of viticulture “but it (the grape) likes that how, that the foots are in the water (...) and then it can produce a lot, beautiful big clusters, golden berries, that are really nice” “there were all over vineyards... it was beautiful” „at that time all the fields were planted…” „So it is a really big job, I cut it, select it, pick it up. Long time ago they did it differently: first they cut it, put on the drill, to the sand, then they came and collected it, and cut out if there were injured, or bad berries; then they laid them in boxes.”

10 3. The memory of the socialist-type co- operative As forced „So, arrived the collectivization (the kolhoz), they caught my grandpa and forced him to join the collective … well then my father and my uncle could hide. And we were lucky: at Csengőd (the neighbouring village) a specialized collective was established, not a socialist type…” „And then we were in a bit better situation then the People from Izsák.” „here in Izsák it was told that the harvest must be given to the cooperative; no one was allowed to keep it. The former, traditional cellars were closed here at Izsák.”

11 3. The memory of the socialist-type co- operative Economic advantages „then the Collective became strong, and planted new wine yards, introduced new methods, new machinery, thus large-scale farming started.” „one has to know, that the state subsidised both types of socialist farms.” „Everyone felt, that both the collective and the state farm helped household farming. It was always important form of earning and employment in rural areas.”

12 3. The break-up of the socialist agriculture As a loss in farming methods: „This 150 hectares was farmed as one unit, with proper plant protection. Then it was chopped, and no one took care of it.” „Now the whole area is weedy; ragweed; a collection of plant-pathology; and as it is chopped even the few which would like to farm properly are unable. It is impossible to farm such small plots. Thus we pushed back ourselves with at least – I don’t know to the early sixties.” As economic loss „The living of the locals became endangered.” „The farmers knew in advance, that she or he will have a certain income; they could plan: Now it does not exist any more.” As social loss: „It is clear that the younger generation is escaping from the village, because they cannot earn their living”

13 3. On the new type cooperative Nostalgia “How to say, during the production we were in touch, we knew each other, the leaders, the members, we trusted each other, and we started cooperation to be able to buy up the champagne Factory” Economic view „processing collectively the raw material and produce a brand-product, which ensures profitability and living of the locals.” Differences ”Now everything was on a voluntary basis.” „Well, it was pretty difficult to convince people to join, as they still remembered the socialist type cooperative…”

14 Habitus - Practice Conclusions Affection toward vine and farming. Turning constraints into advantage: Common work place; Leading role in the area. Embourgoisement Recognized farming advantages: Machinery, plant protection. Economic advantages: Marketing; Wine, as income.

15 Conclusions Continuous interdependence of structure – habitus – practice. Theory of practice helps understanding the role of viticulture and durable, constant values attached to farming activity (viticulture). Although the value of viticulture is not purely economic, the changes after the nineties can be interpreted as a process of embourgeoisement.

16 Further reading  Special issue of the International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food Volume 18 (2011) Special Issue: Collective Farmers’ Marketing Initiatives  Csurgo-Kelemen-Kovach-Megyesi (2008) Encouraging Collective famers Marketing Initiatives. The Hungarian Report. 2008/1, Budapest  Thank you for your attention.


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