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New Lithuania in Old Hands

Effects and Outcomes of EUropeanization in Rural Lithuania

Ida Harboe Knudsen
 

New Lithuania in Old Hands

An examination of the impact Lithuania’s EU membership has had upon the country’s ageing small-scale farmers.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9781783080472
October 2013 | 204 Pages | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6 | 8+ tables
 
PRICE:  £25.00  /  $40.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com
 
 
9781783080472

About This Book

“Analyzing Lithuania’s development as two parallel and intertwined processes – withdrawing from the Soviet Union and entering the EU – ‘New Lithuania in Old Hands’ provides a convincing understanding of the country’s continuities and discontinuities with its socialist past. The book’s vivid ethnographic examples provide a deep insight into Lithuanians’ ambivalent feelings of anxiety, fear, and hope for affluence and a better future.” —Dr Keebet von Benda-Beckmann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

 “Knudsen’s account of Europeanization highlights the difficulties in applying common policies to uncommon situations, especially given the reluctance of older Lithuanians to accept that small-scale farming has no real future. It is to the author’s credit that she shows that Europeanization can be studied just as well via investigating the experience of everyday changes as it can via an examination of treaties and national development plans.” —Dr Andrew Cartwright, Central European University

“Ida Knudsen’s discussion of the way continuities from the Soviet past seep into the EU present is first rate, showing convincingly how established patterns of social relations – such as ‘blat,’ networks and corruption – adapt to the EU context. Perhaps the most original aspect of the work, however, is her convincing argument that in the journey from Brussels to the outlying marginal regions, EU policy is translated into myriad economic, social and political processes, creating in practice many different local EUs.” —Dr Frances Pine, Goldsmiths, University of London

Based on detailed ethnographic material, ‘New Lithuania in Old Hands’ analyzes the impact that European Union membership has had upon the country’s ageing small-scale farmers. Addressing the highly relevant themes of European Union enlargement and the ‘Return to Europe’, this book describes how Lithuania’s EU membership has been a far cry from the scenarios of wealth and overabundance once promised.

On the contrary, membership of the EU has in many instances resulted in a return to subsistence production, increased insecurity and a reinforcement of kinship obligations. Within the agrarian sector, such changes threaten to have a large impact upon the future of family structures, and in turn, the future of the farming demographic as a whole.

While political forces have attempted to create a ‘New Lithuania’ in light of Europe’s geopolitical agenda, it has been the country’s ageing ‘Soviet generation’ that has actually brought into effect the restructuring of the agricultural sector. Thus, instead of treating the European Union as an elite project and voicing the support of various other parts of the population, ‘New Lithuania in Old Hands’ shows how the broader parts of the rural population have been affected by and engaged in the processes of change that followed Lithuania’s accession to the EU.

Readership: This book will be suitable for students and scholars interested in the Baltic Sea Region, the European Union enlargement and postsocialist developments.

Author Information

Ida Harboe Knudsen is a postdoctoral fellow at Aarhus University, Denmark (financed by the Danish Independent Research Council) and an affiliated researcher at Vytautas Magnus University, Lithuania.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Lithuania: An Overview; List of Tables and Figures; Chapter 1. Introduction; Chapter 2. Small-Scale Farmers at the Geopolitical Return to Europe, 1990–2004; Chapter 3. Paradoxes of Aging: On Aging Farmers and Aging Politicians; Chapter 4. Effects of and Responses to the EU Programs in the Countryside; Chapter 5. The Insiders and the Outsiders: EUropeanization of Products and People in the Marketplace; Chapter 6. “If you wish your son bad luck, give him your land”: EUropeanization, Demographic Change and Social Security; Chapter 7. “They told us we would be getting up on the high mountain”: Concluding Remarks; Bibliography; Index