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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Gender and entrepreneurship in the formation of family farms during the postsocialist transformation in Hungary

Morell, I.A.


This paper explores how women and men in commodity producer family farms that emerged during the post-socialist transition in Hungary negotiated gendered and entrepreneurial identities within the emergent gender regime balancing between three entangled and conflicting processes related to globalization, retraditionalisation and state socialist legacies. During this period, the agricultural production structure polarized between units with rapid land concentration and intensified commodity production and small-scale subsistence farmers. Gender dynamics showed to have had great importance for how farms could position themselves on the capital accumulation trajectory. The study is based on a selection from fifty life-history interviews carried out with farm families on the commodification trajectory during the post-socialist transition in rural Hungary between 2000 and 2004 (the years prior to Hungary joining the EU), among which a number of farm families were revisited after three years of the first occasion. Four major types of family farms were identified based on how they (un)done the gender entrepreneurship nexus while reconciling production and care: traditional family farm, semi-equal partnerships in joint farms, feminized one-woman farm, masculinized one-man farm. Semi-equal partnerships in joint farms moved towards different directions over time: farms with separate spheres adjusting to care, masculinization, woman-led joint farm with care mission out-sourced, and farms with dual crises of care and enterprise. The demands for reproducing family farms under globalized market pressure assumed the mobilization of family labour. Women’s inputs were of great importance, while their responsibility to organise care prevailed, putting extra pressure on their health and work burden.


capital accumulation; entrepreneurship; family farms; gender; postsocialism

Published in

Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe
2022, Volume: 30, number: 3, pages: 369-389
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Ltd.

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Gender Studies
    Sociology (excluding Social work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

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