What is it about?

The Soviet Union’s collapse brought economic uncertainty to many Ukrainians. Approximately 20 percent of the population, 10 million people, currently survive on incomes below the state-set subsistence minimum figure. Given the unrealistic nature of this state-produced definition, “poverty” levels are in reality much higher. A distinctive feature of this marginalization is its longevity, as seventeen years since the dismantling of the command economy relatively few feel the benefits of marketization. As Burawoy (2001) noted, the very fact that few people have starved to death during this period indicates that other economic practices must be in operation to ensure households survive. Therefore, there is a need to explore how people (re)structure their everyday lives in response to economic marginalization.

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Why is it important?

Revealing such practices demonstrates the multiplicity of forms that economic marginalization can take, the relationships between formal and informal economies, the exploitation of marginalized groups, new spaces of resistance, and the potential impact of state reforms. Although there is an emerging literature qualitatively exploring the coping tactics developed as in response to economic marginalization, there has been little qualitative examination of the role that domestically produced food plays within this broad spectrum of practices.

Perspectives

This article begins to fill this lacuna by exploring the various roles that the dacha, a plot of rural land given to households during the Soviet period, plays in everyday life.

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: The Role of Domestic Food Production in Everyday Life in Post-Soviet Ukraine, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, October 2010, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/00045608.2010.520214.
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