Shared economic practices securing the viability of rural households in Latvia
Kristīne Rolle (Rigas Stradins University)
Paper short abstract:
The paper analyses the importance and diversity of shared economic practices in securing the viability of rural households in Latvia.
Paper long abstract:
Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted from 2014 to 2015 and resumed in 2017, I analyze the survival strategies developed by rural household members in Latvia in order to meet the needs of the household. For Latvian rural households, located in areas far from urban centers and characterized by poor road/ traffic infrastructure and low economic activity, shared economic practices constitute one of the strategies to ensure household viability. Depending on the resources available and the needs of each household, various shared economic practices take place. For households located in the Latvian-Russian border area, as a result of Latvia’s integration in the EU and the consolidation of the external border of Latvia, shared economic practices manifest as practiced aimed at procuring cheaper fuel and food supplies from Russia. Those Latvian borderland inhabitants who have access to the Russian market (as they have retained the status of a non-citizen or have free "visas") help to deliver significantly cheaper products to those residents on the Latvian side who live without such access, thus providing crucial financial support for low income households. A different shared economic strategy can be witnessed in the practices of members of households -newcomers in the countryside; they create innovative shared economic practices that help them build and strengthen relationships with local people, thus providing them with an opportunity to join the local community.
The sharing economy: sharing with whom, sharing what and sharing for what purpose?