Peasants and Globalization: Political economy, rural transformation and the agrarian question, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Peasants and Globalization

Political economy, rural transformation and the agrarian question, 1st Edition

Edited by A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi, Cristóbal Kay


368 pages

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pub: 2010-04-15
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In 2007, for the first time in human history, a majority of the world’s population lived in cities. However, on a global scale, poverty overwhelmingly retains a rural face. This book assembles an unparalleled group of internationally-eminent scholars in the field of rural development and social change in order to explore historical and contemporary processes of agrarian change and transformation and their consequent impact upon the livelihoods, poverty and well-being of those who live in the countryside. The book provides a critical analysis of the extent to which rural development trajectories have in the past and are now promoting a change in rural production processes, the accumulation of rural resources, and shifts in rural politics, and the implications of such trajectories for peasant livelihoods and rural workers in an era of globalization.

Peasants and Globalization thus explores continuity and change in the debate on the ‘agrarian question’, from its early formulation in the late 19th century to the continuing relevance it has in our times, including chapters from Terence Byres, Amiya Bagchi, Ellen Wood, Farshad Araghi, Henry Bernstein, Saturnino M Borras, Ray Kiely, Michael Watts and Philip McMichael. Collectively, the contributors argue that neoliberal social and economic policies have, in deepening the market imperative governing the contemporary world food system, not only failed to tackle to underlying causes of rural poverty but have indeed deepened the agrarian crisis currently confronting the livelihoods of peasant farmers and rural workers. This crisis does not go unchallenged, as rural social movements have emerged, for the first time, on a transnational scale. Confronting development policies that are unable to reduce, let alone eliminate, rural poverty, transnational rural social movements are attempting to construct a more just future for the world’s farmers and rural workers.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Peasant Livelihoods and the Agrarian Question, 1 The agrarian question: peasants and rural change, A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi and Cristóbal Kay, Part 2: Historical Perspectives on Agrarian Change, 2 Peasants and the market imperative: the origins of capitalism, Ellen Meiksins Wood, 3 The landlord class, peasant differentiation, class struggle and the transition to capitalism: England, France and Prussia compared, Terence J. Byres, 4 Nineteenth-century imperialism and structural transformation in colonized countries, Amiya Kumar Bagchi, 5 The invisible hand and the visible foot: peasants, dispossession and globalization, Farshad Araghi, 6 Peasant struggles for land and agrarian reform in Latin America, Miguel Teubal, Part 3: Contemporary Perspectives on Agrarian Change, 7 The globalization of manufacturing production: Warrenite fantasies and uneven and unequal realities, Ray Keily, 8 Gender justice, land and the agrarian question in southern Africa, Bridget O'Laughlin, 9 The political economy of land and the agrarian question in an era of neoliberal globalization, A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi, Cristóbal Kay and Saturnino M. Borras, 10 Agrarian questions from transition to globalization, Henry Bernstein, 11 The Southern question: agrarian questions of labour and capital, Michael J. Watts, 12 Food sovereignty, social reproduction and the agrarian question, Philip McMichael, Part 4: The Agrarian Question, Past and Present, 13 Neoliberal globalization, the traits of rural accumulation and rural politics: the agrarian question in the 21st Century, A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi and Cristóbal Kay

About the Editors

A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi is Professor of International Development Studies at Trent University, Peterborough, Canada. Cristóbal Kay is Professor of Development Studies and Rural Development at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands.

About the Series

Routledge ISS Studies in Rural Livelihoods

Editorial Board: A. Haroon Akram-Lodhi (Trent University), Saturnino M. Borras Jr. (Institute of Social Studies), Cristóbal Kay (Chair) (Institute of Social Studies) and Max Spoor (Institute of Social Studies).

Routledge and the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague, The Netherlands publish a book series together in rural livelihoods. The series includes themes such as land policies and land rights, water issues, food policy and politics, rural poverty, agrarian transformation, migration, rural-oriented social movements, rural conflict and violence, among others. All books in the series offer rigorous, empirically grounded, cross-national comparative and inter-regional analysis. The books are theoretically stimulating, but are also accessible to policy practitioners and civil society activists.

For a complete list of titles in this series, please visit

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Business Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General