Book Series Rural History in Europe, vol. 18

Integrated Peasant Economy in Central and Eastern Europe

A Comparative Approach

Aleksander Panjek (ed)

  • Pages: approx. 266 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:30 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2024

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-59004-2
  • Paperback
  • Forthcoming (Dec/24)


The book tests the “integrated peasant economy” concept with case studies on Finland, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Russia.


Aleksander Panjek is professor of history at the University of Primorska (Slovenia) and a committee member of the International Association for Alpine History (Switzerland). His main fields of research are early modern economic and social history with a focus on peasant economy, rural society and cultural landscape. He is author and (co)editor of several books, e.g. Panjek, Mocarelli, Larsson eds., Integrated peasant economy in a comparative perspective. The Alps, Scandinavia and Beyond, 2017.


Income integration based on the peasants’ engagement in non-agrarian sectors is a prominent and widespread feature in the history of the European countryside. While listing a multitude of activities outside the narrow scope of farm management aimed at self-consumption, prevailing interpretations emphasize how survival was the goal of peasant economies and societies. The “integrated peasant economy” is a new paradigm that considers the peasant economy as a comprehensive system of agrarian and non-agrarian activities, disclosing how peasants demonstrate agency, aspirations and the ability to proactively change and improve their economic and social condition. After having been successfully applied to the Alpine and Scandinavian areas, the book tests this innovative concept through a wide range of case studies on central and eastern European regions comprising Finland, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Greece, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Russia. By enhancing our knowledge on central and eastern Europe and questioning the assumption that these regions were “different”, it helps overcome interpretive simplifications and common places, as well as the underrepresentation of the “eastern half” of Europe in scholarly literature on rural history. That’s why the book represents a refreshing methodological contribution and a new insight into European rural history which might help reconsider current narratives on development history.


Results of a comparative approach
Aleksander Panjek

Concepts of Income Integration and the Integrated Peasant Economy: Western and Eastern Europe Reconsidered
Aleksander Panjek

Nonagricultural Sources of Polish Peasants’ Income from the Perspective of Sixteenth-Century Nobility
Piotr Guzowski and Radosław Poniat

Rural Non-Agricultural Activities in South Bohemia During the Second Half of the Seventeenth and in the Eighteenth Century
Josef Grulich

At the Roots of the Integrated Peasant Economy Concept: Early Modern Western and Central Slovenia
Ines Beguš and Aleksander Panjek

Diversity of the Peasant Economy in Medieval Serbia (Thirteenth to Fifteenth Century)
Miloš Ivanović

The Autarky of Peasantry in Ottoman Bosnia (1463-1878), Between Myth and Reality
Philippe Gelez

Peasant Agency in Off-Farm Incomes: A Case Study on the Ukrainian Provinces of the Late Russian Empire
Volodymyr Kulikov

‘Those who had paid jobs and worked on farms were living the best lives’: Integrated peasant economy in socialist Slovenia
Lev Centrih and Polona Sitar