Rural areas are specific social-ecological systems and their uniqueness should be taken into consideration when examining their resilience, adaptability and vulnerability in face of contemporary social-ecological challenges, as well as when thinking about their perspectives within the rural development strategies. In Croatia, rural areas have gone through three major waves of modernization over the past century, marked by dramatic changes including ideological, economic and social. In this talk, we will present the theoretical framework and some empirical results of the research project “Socio-ecological challenges to rural development: objective and subjective indicators of resilience of Croatian rural social-ecological systems – SECRURAL”, (2020-2024) funded by the Croatian Science Foundation under the grant number UIP-2019-04-5257. The theoretical framework and empirical analysis include the examination of contemporary state of Croatian rural areas through the lens of rural social-ecological systems (RSESs). The empirical results show how the comparative perspective with other European countries, as well as the use of mixed methods, by integrating quantitative data and qualitative research, enable us to more fully answer the research questions.
Tijana Trako Poljak is an Associate Professor at the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb. Her research interests include the relationship between humans and their natural and cultural environment, rural sociology, with a particular focus on micro-sociological perspectives and visual sociology. She is also interested in social symbolism and identity construction, especially in Central/Southeast European countries.