This book evaluates the relevance of classical debates on agrarian transition and extends the horizon of contemporary debates in the Indian context, linking national trends with regional experiences. It identifies new dynamics in agrarian political economy and presents a comprehensive account of diverse aspects of capitalist transition both at theoretical and empirical levels. The essays discuss several neglected domains in agricultural economics such as discursive dimensions of agrarian relations and limitations of stereotypical binaries between capital and non-capital, rural and urban sectors, agriculture and industry, and accumulation and subsistence.
With contributions from major scholars in the field, this volume will be useful to scholars and researchers of agriculture, economics, political economy, sociology, rural development and development studies.
‘Readers of this splendid collection will encounter a set of thematically and regionally diverse, uniformly erudite, and politically provocative studies that link India’s past to its troubled present and that situate national realities in broader international debates about the agrarian question.’
– Marc Edelman, Professor of Anthropology, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York
‘[This book’s] thought-provoking contributions span from a close interrogation of classic theories of the relationship between agrarian and industrial development, to new analyses of agrarian transition, class and the peasantry in India from a range of critical approaches.’
– Jens Lerche, Editor, Journal of Agrarian Change
‘Focused primarily on India and its regionally diverse trajectories of change, this volume tries to open up . . . questions [of rural and agrarian distress] afresh by invoking some of the classical debates and the dynamics of contemporary realities. Instead of offering simple or generalizable solutions it raises questions that need further engagement, empirically, theoretically and politically.’
– Surinder S. Jodhka, Professor of Sociology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
'The volume successfully captures the nuances of the Byres-Bernstein debate, including its elaboration of the classical agrarian question, its contemporary relevance, and its diversity across societies. The larger lesson from the volume concerns the nature of agrarian change and the question of mobilisation for progressive agrarian transition. The volume establishes the need to take the agrarian question seriously and poses important questions on the relevance of the agenda for agrarian reform. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPIM) has recently observed.'
– Awanish Kumar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Review of Agarian Studies
List of Contributors List of abbreviations List of tables & Figures Foreword Preface and Acknowledgements Introduction Agrarian transition: from classic to current debates Part 1 Agrarian Transition: Theoretical Discourse 1. Back to the future? Marx, modes of production and the agrarian question 2. Revisiting agrarian transition: reflections on long histories and current realities 3. Contours of the agrarian question: Towards political question of ‘the peasantry’ in contemporary IndiaPart 2 Global Capitalism, Neoliberalism and Changing Agriculture 4. Capitalist trajectories of global interdependence and welfare outcomes: the lessons of history for the present5. Declining credibility of the neo-liberal state and agrarian crisis in India6. Neo-liberal reforms, agrarian capitalism and the peasantryPart 3 Agrarian Transition: Regional Responses 7. Changing gender relations among Gounders in western Tamil Nadu villages8. Agro-ecological double movements? Zero budget national farming and alternative agriculture after the neoliberal crisis in Kerala 9. Stressed commerce and accumulation process: a study of agrarian transition in West Bengal 10. Punjab’s Small Peasantry: Thriving or Deteriorating? Index