Accepted Paper:

Effects of legal changes in Lithuanian countryside after the entrance to the EU  


Ida Harboe Knudsen (Ark├Žologi og Lingvistik)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will focus on the transformative process of the Lithuanian agricultural sector in the years leading up to and since EU membership. The aim is to investigate the impact of institutional and legal changes initiated by EU agricultural programs for new member states on rural daily life.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will discuss the consequences of the EU entrance in the Lithuanian countryside four years after membership was obtained. I will argue that the EU is not arriving at an empty space, and development is not only coming from "above" as people already have their own social settings, their own daily practices and their own (unwritten) norms and codes of behavior.

I will furthermore stress that it is not necessarily the initiated and planned changes which have influenced rural daily life the most, it is what I here call "second row changes" - the changes that came after the changes. In the restructuring of the countryside, which mainly aims at closing small farms and setting up big farms, no further development of the rural infrastructure came along. As a consequence hundreds of thousands of young Lithuanians have left Lithuania since the country joined the EU. The big scale migration has consequences for the family structure and thus for the ways people obtain economic and social security. In my paper I will look at these recent changes in the countryside and the strategies people make use of in order to come to terms with the new situation.

Panel W095
East looks West and West looks East - mutual constructions of anthropology