This paper introduces the research project which examines Polish rural development and agricultural restructuring in the light of EU accession. Section 6 of the paper presents an introduction to one of the methodologies that the project will employ to attempt to distinguish between the rural communities and to attempt to identify those with the most pressing development handicaps. Prior to turning the spotlight onto Poland, however, the next four sections of the paper introduce three more general topics that will of necessity have to inform the specific work undertaken on the project in the next three years. The first of these, considered in Section 2, is the question of what is meant by development, particularly as that concept is interpreted in the context of sustainable rural development. In Section 3, attention is turned to a discussion of what is actually meant by the term rural: an all too easy question, but one with an elusive definitive answer. This is followed in Sections 4 and 5 by a preliminary overview of some aspects of measured rural disadvantage within the EU-15, the CEE-10 and an artificial construct that would encompass just those two blocs of countries.
Working Paper No. 1, 49 pp.