What is it about?

Recently, it has become increasingly recognized that the reach of the market economy is shallower than previously assumed and that other livelihood practices persist, such as self-provisioning. However, neither the prevalence of nor the rationales underpinning engagement in these non-market work practices have been widely evaluated. To start to bridge this gap, this article evaluates the extent of self-provisioning in post-Soviet Ukraine and the reasons for engaging in such subsistence production.

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Why is it important?

Until now, participants in selfprovisioning have been portrayed either as rational economic actors, dupes, seekers of self-identity, or simply doing so out of necessity or choice. Analyzing face-to-face interviews with 600 households in Ukraine, this article not only reveals the extensive use of self-provisioning in Ukraine but also develops a theoretically-integrative typology to explain the diverse reasons for engaging in such activity which differentiates between “willing” (rational economic actors, choice, identity seeking) and “reluctant” (economic and market necessity, dupes) participants in self-provisioning. The outcome is a call to evaluate further the ongoing importance of the subsistence economy in Central and Eastern Europe and to re-theorize its persistence in a more theoretically integrative manner than has so far been the case.

Perspectives

Questions the depth of the penetration of the market economy in Central and Eastern Europe

Professor Colin C Williams
University of Sheffield

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This page is a summary of: Evaluating the Persistence of Self-provisioning in Central and Eastern Europe: Some Evidence from Post-Soviet Ukraine, Debatte Journal of Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe, December 2011, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/0965156x.2012.665282.
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