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TRANSFER OF SELF-ORGANIZATION AND COOPERATION PRACTICES IN RURAL TERRITORIES OF LATVIA: TIRZA VILLAGE CASE

D. Bite, Z. Kruzmetra, M. Barzdevica
Friday 9 November 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

Rural depopulation and shrinking are common processes for Latvia during last few decades that call for different ways of revitalizing of rural territories and communities. As the authors of the paper have discovered, better results for economic and social revitalizing of rural territories are reached when all involved social agents (local municipalities, NGOs, entrepreneurs, museums, religious organizations etc.) are linked in a horizontal network and have found ways for mutual cooperation.
At the same time, Latvia, as well as other Post-Soviet countries, experienced interrupted links of cooperation and trust during the USSR occupation in 1940-1990. After the restoration of independence of Latvia in 1990, traditions of civil society were distorted and people needed to build new self-organizing and cooperation forms.
In the context of other studied rural territories (during the National Research Programme of Latvia ECOSOC-LV 2014-2018), Tirza village is found as a good practice of revitalizing local community and territory due to restoration of old traditions and combining them with the new ideas of local community.
Therefore, the aim of the paper is to describe the transfer process of self-organizing and cooperation models in order to revitalize local rural territory in Tirza village. Self-organizing and cooperation patterns that existed before 1940, during the period of the Soviet Union, as well as current ones are described looking for the transfer mechanism behind these social practices.
Qualitative approach of social researches was used. Document analysis of historical and contemporary sources as well as semi-structured group and individual interviews with involved social agents (2016-2017) were carried out.
Main results reveal strong patterns of social memory and communities of practice in Tirza, on the one hand, and free space for establishing any patterns of revitalizing of rural territories in Latvia, on the other hand. The combination of above-mentioned factors leads to the successful territorial development and highlights the importance of local community as its driver.

Keywords: civil society, social memory, rural community, communities of practice


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