'AGRARIAN SEGMENT' IN THE CHANGING STRUCTURE OF THE POLISH SOCIETY
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The agrarian segment has a significant share in the structure of the Polish society. The inclusion into the agrarian segment of the society is based on the following criteria: ownership of land and/or a farm, work in agriculture closely connected with agricultural production, incomes obtained owing to the ownership of a farm (land) or from work in agriculture, and related incomes (old age and disability pensions, hidden unemployment). The last decade of the 20th century marked the 'end of peasants' brought about by the market mechanisms leading to the absorption or marginalization of farms run by peasants. In the result of these processes the broadly understood social-vocational category of 'farmers' became subject to serious changes. This group not only began to shrink but its internal structure began to show increasing diversification. An analysis of the results of the 2002 census has revealed many aspects of this diversification, but it has also pointed to the liquid, fluctuating boundaries of the 'agrarian segment' (AS). When the ownership of land and/or a farm, work in agriculture, or incomes obtained owing to the ownership of a farm (land), incomes from work in agriculture, and related incomes are adopted as the classification criteria for determining the composition of the AS then it turns out that the boundaries of that segment are fluid. Depending on which of these criteria are used the term farmer may be applied to every third (the criterion of work on a farm) or every fourteenth inhabitant of Poland (incomes obtained chiefly from work in agriculture). On one hand, the fluctuating limits of the AS are an expression of difficulties with definitions and, on the other hand, they reflect the crisis in the so-called European model of agriculture, in which part-time farming is becoming ever more frequent. A problem surfaces as a result with the potential and minimal scope of the segment that would meet the criteria of sociological classification.
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