Accepted Paper:

Hidden power: who makes farm decisions?  


Amanda Krzyworzeka (University of Warsaw)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will be about the process of economic decision making among Polish farmers: a collective character of a decision maker; a mutual relationship between tradition and innovations; the role of women and children (officially not decision makers, but often having the last word).

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I would like to consider the process of economic decision making among Polish farmers. The basis for statements is my Ph.D. fieldwork which was conducted in the Eastern Poland about "Farmers' Work and Survival Strategies".

I would like to consider the question of collective character of the decision maker, who is usually not a single person, but a family or its part, or a friend/neighbour group. Reasons and consequences of this situation are of considerable importance for the way the community functions, and the way the local economy works. Another dimension of decision making is mutual relationship between tradition and innovations, which are both important factors of decision making, and both highly valued, although each in a different way and context. This is closely connected to the question of who is treated as local persons of authority and why. The role played by women is also crucial: usually women are not considered as official participants of decision making process, but in many families the last word belongs to them. Interestingly, not only male farmers, but also women themselves tend to deny their position on the farm. Usually neither officials, nor agricultural trainings organizers take their position into account, and so their goals (like changing farmers' way of thinking and making decisions) are impossible to achieve, as they ignore a very important part of the process they try to intervene in. Children's influence is also underestimated.

Panel W003
Towards an anthropology of decision making