Agriculture-based livelihood strategies in Bulgaria and southern Russia : implications for agrarian change
In this thesis I present an inductive study of agriculture-based livelihood strategies in Bulgaria and southern Russia. Findings are based on qualitative interviews with 151 current and former agricultural producers in Krimsk and Pavlovsky Rayons in Krasnodar Territory, Russia; and Dobrich and Plovdiv regions in Bulgaria. Utilising Long's (2001) 'actor-oriented approach' to development research as an ontological standard, I integrated concepts from Sustainable (Rural) Livelihoods with literature on agrarian change in both Eastern Europe and the West to construct an analytical framework. Data analysis revealed patterns of rationale (instrumental, personal, social and expressive goals, meanings and values) and resource use (financial, human, physical, natural and social capital) associated with engagement in agricultural production. I combined these two types of findings to construct three ideal types of 'livelihood strategy': maintenance, accumulation and self-actualisation. Distinction of types based on livelihood strategies is analytically useful for identifying strengths and weaknesses of emergent agrarian forms in Eastern Europe (collective and co-operative farms, private farms and home production), particularly in terms of labour relations, market integration, social reproduction and risk management. As a whole, findings suggest the existence of distinct post-Soviet agrarianism, evolving from resources and rationales of the Soviet agrarian experience, and essential to manoeuvring within the unstable markets and inconsistent policy frameworks of the post-Soviet period.