Rural History 2015

Panel 10

Organizers: Planas, Jordi

Affiliation: University of Barcelona, Spain

Rural cooperatives and their relationship with the State

The spread of rural cooperatives since late nineteenth century has been acknowledged as an important factor for the modernization of agriculture. However, the development of the cooperative movement along the twentieth century was uneven: more intense in some periods, with the creation of a considerable number of cooperatives (not always long lasting) than others, and with a great geographical disparity. In this panel we intend to explore the reasons of the success and failure of rural cooperatives, by looking at the role played by the State. Although cooperatives were institutions founded on the idea of self-help and they were set from below, they were very sensitive to the institutional framework provided by the State. Governments encouraged the spread of rural cooperatives for different reasons: for diffusing technical change, for regulating agricultural markets, for preventing social unrest in the countryside, or even as a way to exert a certain social control, especially under authoritarian regimes. But governments could also fear social mobilization and cooperatives promoted self-organization of lower classes and helped the democratization of local communities. The relationship between the State and the cooperatives was, consequently, very complex and its features were diverse depending on the characteristics of the political system: more or less democratic, authoritarian regimes or socialist systems... What was the State intervention in the development of rural cooperatives? Was it useful to remove the obstacles the hindered their development? Were cooperatives highly dependent on the support from the public administration for their performance? How and to what extent were cooperatives involved in agricultural policies? These are some of the questions that would be interesting to explore in this panel. Comparisons between different regions, countries or chronological periods will be welcome, but also some case studies that can provide strong evidence about these questions.


Papers (part I)

Chair and discussant: Peter Moser, Archives of Rural History in Bern, Switzerland

Paper 1: The contribution of the State to the development of wine cooperatives in Spain throughout the twentieth century

Francisco J. Medina-Albaladejo, University of Valencia, Spain; and Jordi Planas, University of Barcelona, Spain

Paper 2: The cooperative system in the French mountains: between collective organisations and State strategy

Edouard Lynch, Université Lyon 2, France

Paper 3: The cooperative movement and the origins of the International Institute of Agriculture

Niccolò Mignemi, École française de Rome, France/Italy


Papers (part II)

Chair and discussant: Jordi Planas, University of Barcelona, Spain

Paper 4: The cooperative movement and the State in Poland, 1850’s-1939

Torsten Lorenz, Charles University Prague, Czech Republic

Paper 5: Many Shades of Red – socialist “cooperatives” in comparison

Zsuzsanna Varga, Lorand Eötvös University, Hungary

Paper 6: Cooperative development under different agricultural strategies: The role of the State and small farmers in Cuba and Costa Rica (1990-2008)

Elisa Botella-Rodríguez, University of Salamanca, Spain


Suggested deadline for sending completed papers 31 july 2015

© 2014 Rural History 2015