Agrarian Marxism: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Agrarian Marxism

1st Edition

Edited by Michael Levien, Michael Watts, Yan Hairong


312 pages

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Hardback: 9780367186562
pub: 2019-04-02

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This comprehensive volume advances heterodox reconstructions of agrarian Marxism on the occasion of Marx’s 200th birth anniversary. While Marxists have long criticized ‘populists’ for ignoring capitalism and class, populists have charged Marxists with historical determinism. This ongoing debate has now reached something of an impasse, in part because new empirical work addressing the complex contemporary patterns and conjunctures of global agrarian capitalism offers exciting new horizons, along with new and generative theoretical reconstructions of Marxism itself. This book helps to point the way beyond this impasse, and illustrates that agrarian Marxism remains a dynamic theoretical program that offers powerful insights into agrarian change and politics in the twenty-first century.

This book was originally published as a special issue of The Journal of Peasant Studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Agrarian Marxism

Michael Levien, Michael Watts and Yan Hairong

2. An urban proletariat with peasant characteristics: land occupations and livestock raising in South Africa

Ricardo Jacobs

3. ‘Hot chocolate’: financialized global value chains and cocoa production in Ecuador

Thomas F. Purcell

4. Conjugated oppression within contemporary capitalism: class, caste, tribe and agrarian change in India

Jens Lerche and Alpa Shah

5. Gender and class relations in rural India

Smriti Rao

6. Custom and exploitation: rethinking the origins of the modern African chieftaincy in the political economy of colonialism

Gavin Capps

7. Agrarian questions of labor in urban India: middle migrants, translocal householding and the intersectional politics of social reproduction

Vinay Gidwani and Priti Ramamurthy

8. From South Africa to China: land, migrant labor and the semi-proletarian thesis revisited

Shaohua Zhan and Ben Scully

9. The politics of classes of labour: fragmentation, reproduction zones and collective action in Karnataka, India

Jonathan Pattenden

10. Social reproduction of ‘classes of labour’ in the rural areas of South Africa: contradictions and contestations

Ben Cousins, Alex Dubb, Donna Hornby and Farai Mtero

11. Without the blanket of the land: agrarian change and biopolitics in post–Apartheid South Africa

Andries du Toit

12. Marx and Chayanov at the margins: understanding agrarian change in Java

Ben White

13. The ‘peasant problem’ in the Russian revolution(s), 1905–1929

Henry Bernstein

About the Editors

Michael Levien is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Johns Hopkins University, USA. He is the author of Dispossession without Development: Land Grabs in Neoliberal India (2018).

Michael Watts is Class of 63 Emeritus Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of California Berkeley, USA.

Yan Hairong teaches in the Department of Applied Social Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. She is the author of New Masters, New Servants: Migration, Development, and Women Workers in China (2008), and co-author of The Chinese are the Worst?: Human Rights and Labor Practices in Zambian Mining (2012) and China in Africa: Discourses and Practices (in Chinese, 2017).

About the Series

Critical Agrarian Studies

Critical Agrarian Studies is the new accompanying book series to the Journal of Peasant Studies. It publishes selected special issues of the journal and, occasionally, books that offer major contributions in the field of critical agrarian studies. The book series builds on the long and rich history of the journal and its former accompanying book series, the Library of Peasant Studies (1973-2008) which had published several important monographs and special-issues-as-books.

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