Author:Jana Lindbloom (Slovak Academy of Sciences)
Paper short abstract:
The inflow of foreign investors in Slovak agriculture triggered new ways of categorization among farmers. The paper will analyse strategies employed by the participants to make distinctions and maintain similarities between domestic and foreign actors in order to make sense of the new situation.
Paper long abstract:
Since 1989, agriculture in Slovakia, similarly to other post-socialist countries, has undergone many consequential changes. When both agricultural production and property relations still seem far from being stabilized, new actors have entered the field. The fertile soil lowlands have especially been flooded by foreign investors - either active farmers or mere financiers. Thus, besides the existing axes of structuration, a new criterion has been added to differentiate actors and practices related to agriculture and farmland, a criterion which perhaps even overrides other perspectives for social categorization. The distinction between domestic and foreign farmer might appear the most outspoken and clear cut, not only in terms of nationality or citizenship but also other characteristics such as attitudes, time-orientation or workplace practices. However, a closer examination reveals that drawing the line between domestic and foreign actors is not so simple. Their strategies often seem comparable and most importantly, the supporting networks for outsiders' action are inevitably rooted in local, insiders' assistance.
Farmland as investment in post-Soviet Eurasia: practices, coalitions, moralities