THE INVISIBLE BASES OF TRUST HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTION, WORK AND EXCHANGE IN SLOVAKIAN VILLAGE
Languages of publication
The paper has considered patterns of household production and distribution in today's village economy and put them in relation to the consumption sphere, labour and interaction between villagers with regard to family land. The kind of choices that people follow are dictated by considerations that go beyond the mere search for profit or a standard of well-being. It is in the ongoing tension between the social and economic dimension of these choices that the meaning of 'household economy' must be sought. Anthropological accounts of peasant economies and their attempts to categorise household practices that otherwise cannot be accounted for by classic economic parameters provide important insights into the family as a basic unit of production, consumption and reproduction. In the case of postsocialist societies these approaches fit very well due to the widespread diffusion of secondary economic activities originating in the late socialist period. In the village, secondary economic practices based on farming household plots and gardens can be traced back to the 1960s.During socialism the importance of managing these plots lay not simply in the villagers' desire to complement their household incomes, but it constituted a matter of social status in the village. However, after socialism this picture has changed slightly. Household farming has remained a crucial economic activity for villagers, but with an increased accent on its economic necessity. Food produced in gardens and through raising animals is consumed within the family and provides important reserves through the whole year. Furthermore, there are families who do sell part of their products grown in small family plots and in gardens. This clearly goes beyond the spirit of a 'subsistence economy' as defined by classic anthropological accounts of household economies almost everywhere in the world. As in cases where gardening and farming on household plots provide important supplements to the family's economy, the management of land, resources and work are conveyed into social strategies even in households where the need for additional sources of domestic provision is not desperately felt. These strategies are aimed at strengthening social ties and trust within the family group. These ties are dictated by precise considerations of the tasks and roles of family members which operate to construct rules of behaviour, obligations and expectations. At this point trust becomes the factor underpinning people's relatedness and the reliability of family members. The social use of land and the sharing of work are two of the several adaptation strategies that people have adopted in order to cope with the changing and unstable reality of Central Eastern Europe.
Publication order reference
CEJSH db identifier