Bitter Harvest

Bitter Harvest : Antecedents and Consequences of Property Reforms in Postsocialist Poland

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This book links political and economic sociology examining how post-socialist property changes are rooted in the socialist past and how they relate to the meaning and practices of transition states and their capacity for sustainable economic development. It raises the issue of the applicability of Western institutions in the Eastern European context and the implications for the contemporary politics of European integration in which E.U. politics aim to smooth over the many divergences of its members.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 27.94mm | 476.27g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739165143
  • 9780739165140

Table of contents

Preface Introduction: The Mystery of Property. Chapter 1: The Post-Socialist Transition and Formation of Post-Socialist Property Relations. Chapter 2: Continuity of Reform Policies: From Conjoint Ownership to Exclusive Ownership Reform. Chapter 3: Private Agricultural Property Owners in the Post-Socialist Transition. Chapter 4: Cooperatives in the Vise of Information Constraints and Ownership Ambiguity. Chapter 5: The Privatization of State Farms: Slow or Illusory? Conclusions
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Review quote

Only a few years after the fall of communism, Polish peasants and farmers have emerged as major opponents of economic transition policies and played an important role in toppling the Solidarity government. Why would private property owners, who fought bitterly against the communist regime, and now finally stood to gain from privatization, offer resistance to the capitalist transformation of the socialist economy? This book is the best available analysis of the social origins of the peasants' disaffection. Based on in-depth ethnography and an innovative theory of socialist property as 'conjoint property' with the state, the author shows that Polish farmers' capacity to exercise their private property rights relied on a whole network of state institutions meant to protect them from adverse outcomes. It was precisely this network that got dismantled by the reformers. This is an empirically rich and theoretically nuanced analysis of one of the most profound transformations of our times, replacing facile answers with sustained and careful analysis. -- Gil Eyal, Department of Sociology, Columbia University Exiting communism has proved a mixed blessing. Reenvisioning the transition in Polish agriculture, Zbierski-Salameh delves into the complex evolution of divergent property forms-private, cooperative, and state-to show just how the past constrained the future. Bitter Harvest represents theoretically engaged ethnography at its best. -- Michael Burawoy, professor of sociology and President of the International Sociological Association, University of California
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About Suava Zbierski-Salameh

Suava (Slawomira) Zbierski-Salameh heads Haverford Institute at Haverford, Pennsylvania where she works for advancement of exchanges between U.S. and East European academic communities. Earlier, she served for several years at Haverford College on Steering Committee for Center for Peace and Global Citizenship and on Advisory Board for study Abroad Program. Born in Poland she received a PhD in sociology at UC Berkeley. She taught at US Berkeley and Haverford College. Her articles appeared in numerous journals and books, including Uncertain Transitions (1999). She lives in Haverford, Pennsylvania and Poznan, Poland.
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