Version 3.2_September 2016

Individual Paper: The role of community enterprises in rural development

A comparative study between Germany and Hungary

Event large 4b8aa978adbb7c8e80151f5a83c6782a12e763374ae3a042a55e7e626a64d93b

Neoliberal regional development policies are not just environmentally unsustainable, but are also producing uneven regions (Harvey 2011, Smith 2008). The case of Hungary seems to confirm this. Regional disparities in Hungary has been growing in the postsocialist transition period and our accession to the EU has not improved this situation either (Tímár 2007).
In the same time there is a tendency towards a deeper understanding of development. An understanding, which includes cultural, political, environmental concerns too (eg. Pike et al., 2007). Environmental sustainability is becoming important in rural development discourses. The interrelationship between ecology and economy is highlighted in recent sustainability definitions concerning rural development (Kajner et al. 2013, Morgan, 2004).
In the above described context I am interested in the development of community enterprises of rural settlements in Hungary and Eastern Germany. Under community enterprise I understand a community-based social enterprise, which has a local focus, has been created for or by the local community, has earned income or produces goods directly for the community without bringing them to the market. Furthermore community organization or community development is a key issue for the stakeholders of the community enterprise.
Through qualitative methods (narrative interviews with key drivers of community enterprises, participant observation at one community enterprise pro country) my aim is to gain a deeper understanding about the aims, motivations, challenges and development conceptions of the drivers and stakeholders of community enterprises.