1st Edition

The Rationality of Rural Life

By Jeff Pratt Copyright 2005

    First published in 2004. The river Orcia flows westwards out of a majestic valley in central Italy, cuts a ravine through the northern flanks of Monte Amiata, and descends through rolling hills to the coastal plain, the Maremma. On its upper reaches, a thousand years ago, the first farms regulated by the mezzadria contract were created, a share-cropping system which established a stable farm population in the countryside, with half the produce going to an urban landlord class. There were some variations in its organization, and when in the 19th century the mezzadria was finally established on the hills and newly drained swamps of the Maremma the farms were much more commercially oriented and grouped into very large estates. The collapse of the mezzadria also created major fractures in rural society. The three main theoretical issues with which this book is concerned- capitalist agriculture, technological change and rationality.

    Chapter ONE Introduction; Chapter TWO Hard Work and No Money: Share-Cropping in Tuscany; Chapter THREE Like Birds Freed from a Cage: Economic Changes in the Family-Farming Sector; Chapter FOUR Experiences of Farming since the Land-Reform; Chapter FIVE An Economy of Scale: Wine Production on the Montalcino Estates; Chapter SIX Marks of Distinction; Chapter SEVEN Conclusion;


    Jeff Pratt