Some Conventional Orthodoxies in the Study of Agrarian Change
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CitationBates, Robert H. 1984. Some Conventional Orthodoxies in the Study of Agrarian Change. World Politics 36, no. 02: 234–254.
AbstractThe paper presents a critical review of two major approaches to the analysis of agrarian societies in light of evidence taken from the scholarly literature on Africa. The first approach posits the existence of “natural” societies; the second, of “peasant” societies. The existence of such “precapitalist” societies is often invoked to account for patterns of change in contemporary rural societies. The author argues that these approaches are overly culturally and economically determined, and that they undervalue the importance of the state. Many of the so-called precapitalist features of these societies are themselves found to be products of the societies' encounter with agents of capitalism. Moreover, many result from the efforts of states to secure domination and control over rural populations.
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