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Rural Community Resilience in Hungary and Wales


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Marton Lendvay - Aberystwyth University

Researchers have applied a wide range of approaches and methods for analysing ‘rural community resilience’ but there remain gaps in handling the concept, especially when used simultaneously with other conflicting notions such as social capital or post-socialism. Works in the field often fail to deploy theoretical frameworks and thus findings remain descriptive and uncritical. This paper explores how the concept of ‘rural community resilience’ may be conceptualised based on empirical research undertaken in Hungary and Wales. The aim of the paper is to introduce how the research developed from setting the starting research questions to some initial findings of the empirical research carried out searching for different forms of rationality and adaptation strategies with agricultural communities in two case-studies. By discussing experiences with a watermelon producing community of South-East Hungary and the hilltop farming community of the Cambrian Mountains in Wales the paper presents possible ways of interpreting findings by developing a grounded theory of the empirical research through the lens of actor-networks, governmentality and discourse analysis

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Rural Community Resilience in Hungary and Wales

  1. 1. Discussing possible theoretical frameworks for conceptualising ‘rural community resilience’ in Hungary and Wales Márton Lendvay Cheltenham, 07.11.2014.
  2. 2. 2 Research idea Community resilience Post-socialist environment Social capital
  3. 3. 3 Research questions How does social capital contribute to the resilience of rural communities in post-socialist environment? 1) How can ‘rural community resilience’ be conceptualized in post-socialist environment with special regard to human factors affecting rural communities? 2) How is social capital constructed in post-socialist and in capitalist settings; in what ways do forms of interaction and patterns of cooperation between members of rural communities differ? 3) How do rural communities enhance adaptability beyond formal cooperation in the post-socialist space?
  4. 4. 4 Community resilience? “Community resilience is the existence, development, and engagement of community resources by community members to thrive in an environment characterized by change, uncertainty, unpredictability, and surprise. Members of resilient communities intentionally develop personal and collective capacity that they engage to respond to and influence change, to sustain and renew the community, and to develop new trajectories for the communities’ future.” (Magis, 2010, p. 402)
  5. 5. 5 Critique • No ontological theory behind these concepts • No fixed analytical framework • Little explanatory power • Difficult operationalisation
  6. 6. 6 Case-studies • Geographic area • Sense of community • External pressures • Response by community action
  7. 7. 7 Case-study I “Watermelon producing community in Hungary” Hungary Medgyesegyháza
  8. 8. 8 Case-study I “Watermelon producing community in Hungary”
  9. 9. 9 Case-study II “Hilltop farming community of the Cambrian Mountains”
  10. 10. 10 Case-study II “Hilltop farming community of the Cambrian Mountains”
  11. 11. 11 Processes and phenomena Other community members State Day labour Informal traders Producer Organisations (cooperatives) capitalist framework Farmers Traders (socialist) community work capitalist attitude neoliberal attitude capitalist approach Integrators socialist desire capitalist attitude community engagement
  12. 12. 12 Processes and phenomena Seedsmen Seasonal labour Ministry of Agriculture Local government Local farmers Foreign customers Watermelon Traders Weather Informal traders
  13. 13. 13 Processes and phenomena Tir Gofal Agri-environment Tir Cymen Glastir schemes Cambrian Mountains ESA Strengthening environmentalist discourse Sustaining farming practice of production Traditional farming discourse Cambrian Mountains Initiative Consensus?
  14. 14. 14 Possible interpretation I Actor-network theory (Latour 1986) • Every actor is part of networks and is a network itself • Entities only exist as long as they are parts of networks • Non-human actants have agency • Translation and enrolment • The actor network is not stabile • Culture and social capital has no meaning
  15. 15. Watermelon production 15
  16. 16. 16 Possible interpretation II Governmentality (Foucault 1976) • Power is parallel • The actors subject to power implement the aims of another actor themselves • Adds information about how and why networks form the way they do • Too policy oriented?
  17. 17. 17 Possible interpretation III Assemblage theory (Deleuze & Guattari 1980) • A wider understanding of ANT • Components self-subsistent and can be detached and made components of other assemblages • Solidifies the network • Territorialisation • Coding
  18. 18. 18 Possible interpretation IV Substantive rationales (Weber 1968) • Intangible components of network formation • Motivations behind actions • “Value postulates” – clusters of values • In addition to network analysis
  19. 19. 19 Summary • Resilience and social capital • Case-study communities are diverse, internal tensions • Possible ontological theories – Actor-network theory, governmentality, assemblage theory…
  20. 20. 20 Questions? Márton Lendvay Aberystwyth University The PhD research is funded by the Aberystwyth Doctoral Career Development Scholarship scheme