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From Peasants to Farmers? Agrarian Reforms and Modernisation in Twentieth Century Romania

A Case Study: Bordei Verde Commune in Braila County

Series:

Cornel Micu

The underdevelopment of agriculture was an important subject during the negotiations for Romania’s accession to the European Union. The problem of backwardness in rural areas is, however, far from new and during the twentieth century several agrarian reforms attempted to resolve it. In order to determine the causes of their failure, this volume focuses on a region in the South-Eastern part of Romania, and investigates the activity of three sets of social actors directly involved in agricultural policy: the national elites, who formulated the modernisation programmes, the administration, who implemented them, and the peasants, who had to deal with their effects. The book covers a period of ninety years, from 1917 until 2007, and attempts to determine the long-term results of modernisation policies.

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Chapter V: EU Accession and the Development of New Property Patterns

Extract

In this final chapter I will approach the period between the fall of the communist regime in 1989 and the Romanian EU accession on the 1st of January 2007. This topic was especially difficult to fit into the general structure of the work, as it implied a different methodological approach than the one for the analysis of the period between 1917 and 1989. Because the archival sources are unavailable, I had to use methods of collecting information specific to cultural anthropology, such as field interviews and participative observation. These techniques had the advantage of offering more insights into the social transformation of the studied area after 1989. However, without any available archival data, the administrative level was difficult to approach from a statistical point of view and therefore this chapter has a different structure than the previous ones, concerning the “histori- cal” interwar and communist periods. Furthermore, the European Union's involvement, which took place not only at the policy making level through the accession criteria but also at the local level through SAPARD programs or specific regulations, required a different research strategy than the one used for investigating the interwar and communist periods. However, I don´t consider this chapter as standing apart from the previ- ous ones because, as I will try to show in the next pages, one can easily trace a certain continuity of the agricultural policy in the decade following the collapse of communism. In fact, the two main political programs which competed during the nineties...

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