New Young Rural Elite? Young People with University Education and Their Motivations and Ways of Life in the Polish Countryside.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:30
Location: Hörsaal 6D P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Ilona MATYSIAK, The Maria Grzegorzewska University, Poland
From the historical perspective, after year 1989, the Polish rural areas and their inhabitants entered the period of significant social, economic and cultural changes, including disagrarization of employment and significant improvement of basic local infrastructure. Still, does it mean that rural areas could be perceived by younger generations as an attractive place to live and develop their professional and life careers? Traditionally, especially those young people, who decided to study, were convinced that only the city can provide them with satisfactory life opportunities. However, the recent studies show that about 30.0% of university graduates of rural origin return to their villages (Wasielewski 2012). Apart from that, since 2000, we observe in Poland a positive balance of migration from cities to rural areas. In this context, it is reasonable to ask what happens to those young people, who, having earned the university diploma, decide to return to their villages, or, not being of rural origin, want to settle in the rural areas. Why have they made such choice and what are its consequences? The presentation focuses on the male and female inhabitants of the rural areas (of both rural and urban origin) with university education - “young adults”, who usually are at stage of making critical life decisions. The main aim is to analyze the motivations behind their decisions to live in the rural areas, their perception of their localities and the definition of own role in local communities – to what extent do they engage on behalf of their village? The presentation is based on the representative quantitative study of young rural inhabitants aged 25-34 conducted in 2015 in Poland. First results show that young inhabitants of the rural areas with university education constitute a significant resource in terms of  their cultural  and  - potentially – economic and social capital.