Agrarian Environments questions the dichotomies that have structured earlier analyses of environmental processes in India and offers a new way of looking at the relationship between agrarian transformation and environmental change. The contributors claim that attempts to explain environmental conflicts in terms of the local versus the global, indigenous versus outsiders, women versus men, or the community versus the market or state obscure vital dynamics of mobilization and organization that critically influence thought and policy. Editors Arun Agrawal and K. Sivaramakrishnan claim that rural social change in India cannot be understood without exploring how environmental changes articulate major aspects of agrarian transformations—technological, cultural, and political—in the last two centuries. In order to examine these issues, they have reached beyond the confines of single disciplinary allegiances or methodological loyalties to bring together anthropologists, historians, political scientists, geographers, and environmental scientists who are significantly informed by interdisciplinary research. Drawing on extensive field and archival research, the contributors demonstrate the powerful political implications of blurring the boundaries between dichotomous cultural representations, combine conceptual analyses with specific case studies, and look at why competing powers chose to emphasize particular representations of land use or social relations. By providing a more textured analysis of how categories emerge and change, this work offers the possibility of creating crucial alliances across populations that have historically been assumed to lack mutual goals. Agrarian Environments will be valuable to those in political science, Asian studies, and environmental studies.
Contributors. Arun Agrawal, Mark Baker, Molly Chattopadhyaya, Vinay Gidwani, Sumit Guha, Shubhra Gururani, Cecile Jackson, David Ludden, Haripriya Rangan, Paul Robbins, Vasant Saberwal, James C. Scott, K. Sivaramakrishnan, Ajay Skaria, Jennifer Springer, Darren Zook
The noted economist Yair Mundlak presents here a theory of the growth of the agricultural sector within the context of a growing economy. He explores the various aspects of the dynamics of agriculture and their relationship to the dynamics of the economy at large, offering a unique blend of theory, methodology, and empirical analysis.
The rate of agricultural growth has varied across countries and over time, even though the main innovations in agricultural technology have been made available to all countries. Consequently, the difference in performance is due to the use made of the available technology. Mundlak treats the implementation of technology as an economic decision similar to decisions about resource supply and allocation. The development of agriculture, like that of other sectors, is determined to a large degree by the economic environment, especially public policies. This framework permits the author to evaluate the effects of policies on growth by examining their effects on sectoral incentives. Mundlak shows that neutral macroeconomic policies may have a stronger effect on sectoral growth than sector-specific policies.
The book contains problem sets, and will be a reference and text for graduate-level courses.
A comprehensive, original, and innovative analysis of the social, economic, and political factors affecting contemporary Russian reform, the book is organized around the central question of the role of the state and its effect on the course of Russian agrarian reform. In the wake of the collapse of the USSR, contemporary conventional wisdom holds the the Russian state is “weak.” Stephen Wegren feels that the traditional approach to the weak/strong state suffers from measurement and circular logic problems, believing that the Russian state, thought weaker than in its Soviet past, is still relatively stronger than other actors. The state’s strength allows it to intervene in the rural sector in ways that other power contender cannot.
Specifically, as a measure of state intervention, Wegren analyzes how the state has influenced urban-rural relations, rural-rural relations, and the nonstate (private) agricultural sector. Several dilemmas arose that have complicated successful agrarian reform as a result of the nature of state interventions, how reform policies were defined, and the incentives rhar arose from state-sponsored policies. During contemporary Russian agrarian reform, urban-rural differences have widened, marked by a deterioration in rural standards of living and increased alienation of rural political groups from urban alliances. At the same time, within the rural sector, reform failed to reverse rural egalitarianism. In addition, the nature of state interventions has undermined attempts to create a vibrant, productive private rural sector based on private farming.
Wegren’s research is based upon extensive field work, interviews, archival documents, and published and unpublished source material conducted over a six-year period, and he demonstrates the link between agrarian reform and the success of overall reform in Russia. This learned and often controversial volume will interest political scientists, policy makers, and scholars and students of contemporary Russia.
American agriculture in the twentieth century has given the world one of its great success stories, a paradigm of productivity and plenty. Yet the story has its dark side, from the plight of the Okies in the 1930s to the farm crisis of the 1980s to today's concerns about low crop prices and the impact of biotechnology. Looking at U.S. farming over the past century, Bruce Gardner searches out explanations for both the remarkable progress and the persistent social problems that have marked the history of American agriculture.
Gardner documents both the economic difficulties that have confronted farmers and the technological and economic transformations that have lifted them from relative poverty to economic parity with the nonfarm population. He provides a detailed analysis of the causes of these trends, with emphasis on the role of government action. He reviews how commodity support programs, driven by interest-group politics, have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to little purpose. Nonetheless, Gardner concludes that by reconciling competing economic interests while fostering productivity growth and economic integration of the farm and nonfarm economies, the overall twentieth-century role of government in American agriculture is fairly viewed as a triumph of democracy.
Like all facets of daily life, the food that Russian farms produced and citizens ate—or, in some years, didn’t eat—underwent radical shifts in the century between the Bolshevik Revolution and Vladimir Putin’s presidency. The modernization of agriculture during this time is usually understood in terms of advances in farming methods. Susanne A. Wengle’s important interdisciplinary history of Russia’s agriculture and food systems, however, documents a far more complex story of the interactions between political policies, daily cultural practices, and technological improvements.
Examining governance, production, consumption, nature, and the ensuing vulnerabilities of the agrifood system, Wengle reveals the intended and unintended consequences of Russian agricultural policies since 1917. Ultimately, Black Earth, White Bread calls attention to Russian technopolitics and how macro systems of government impact life on a daily, quotidian level.
This story of Kenya in the decade before the outbreak of the Mau Mau emergency presents an integrated view of imperial government as well as examining the social and economic causes of the Kikuyu revolt. Dr. Throup combines traditional Imperial History with its emphasis on the high politics of “The Official Mind” in the Colonial Office or in Government House with the new African historiography that concentrates on the people themselves.
Sir Philip Mitchell was the proconsul chosen to reassert metropolitan authority. Under Kenyatta’s leadership the Kenya African Union mobilized a popular constituency among the peasantry. In Nairobi the Kikuyu street gangs linked up with the militant Kikuyu trade unions, led by Fred Kubai and Bildad Kaggia, to challenge Kenyatta’s leadership.
The Mau Mau movement, as it was called by the government, was an alliance between three groups of discontented Kikuyu: the urban unemployed and destitute, the dispossessed squatters from the White Highlands and the tenants and members of the junior clans in the Kikuyu reserves.
The revolt was a dominating factor in convincing the conservative imperial government that the cost of repression in the African colonies was not worth the troops and resources.
The story of the Joad family’s journey from their ravaged farm in dustbowl Oklahoma to the storied paradise of California helped inform a nation about the brutality, poverty, and vicious competition among fellow immigrants desperate for work. But Steinbeck is only one successor to a rich and esteemed literary tradition in California.
Drawing on history and cultural theory, The End of Eden traces the rise of the California social novel, its embrace of the agrarian dream, and its ambivalence about technology and the development it enables. It relies on various cultural conceptions of space, among them, the American Public Land Survey (the source of the “grid” allotments shaping homestead claims), Mexican-era diseños, and Native American traditions that defined a fluid relationship between human beings and the land.
This animation of four California social novels of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries demonstrates how conflicts over space and place signify cultural conflict. It is deeply informed by the author’s understanding of historical land issues. The works include Joaquin Miller’s Unwritten History: Life Amongst the Modocs, Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona, Frank Norris’ The Octopus, and Mary Austin’s The Ford.
Miller’s Unwritten History: Life Amongst the Modocs and Jackson’s Ramona examine the tragic but inevitable consequences for native people of making space—inhabited already by Native American and Hispanic populations—safe for Americans who pursue the agrarian dream without regard to its effects upon those who claim prior tenure on the land. Norris’ The Octopus and Austin’s The Ford examine the murkier story of trying to preserve or to reclaim the agrarian dream when confronted by the unchecked materialist interests of American capitalism.
A wide-reaching interdisciplinary approach to various cultural conceptions of space, The End of Eden provides a crucial understanding of the conflicts depicted in social novels that lament the ways in which land is allocated and developed, the ways in which American agrarianism—and its promise of local, sustainable land use—is undermined, and how it applies to contemporary California. In an era where California confronts, yet again, the complicated patterns of land use: fracking, water use and water rights, coastal regulation and management, and agribusiness, this groundbreaking work provides an ever-relevant context.
The End of Peasantry? examines the dramatic recent decline of agriculture in post-Soviet Russia. Historically, Russian farmers have encountered difficulties relating to the sheer abundance of land, the vast distances between population centers, and harsh environmental conditions. More recently, the drastic depopulation of rural spaces, decreases in sown acreage, and overall inefficiency of land usage have resulted in the disruption and spatial fragmentation of the countryside. For many decades, rural migration has been a selective process, resulting in the most enterprising and self-motivated people leaving the rural periphery. The new agricultural operators representing nascent but aggressive Russian agribusiness have difficulty co-opting traditional rural communities afflicted by profound social dysfunction. The contrast between agriculture in proximity to large cities and in their hinterlands is as sharp as ever, and some vacant niches are increasingly occupied by ethnically non-Russian migrants. All of these conditions existed to some degree in pre-Soviet times, but they have been exacerbated since Russia took steps toward a market economy.
Understudied and often underestimated in the West, the crisis facing Russian agriculture has profound implications for the political and economic stability of Russia. The authors see hope in the significant increase in land use intensity on vastly diminished farmland. The lessons gathered from this thoroughly researched study are far-reaching and relevant to the disciplines of Slavic and European studies, agriculture, political science, economics, and human geography.
Modern farm policy emerged in the United States in 1862, leading to an industrialized agriculture that made the farm sector collectively more successful even as many individual farmers failed. Ever since, a healthy farm economy has been seen as the key to flourishing rural communities, and the problems of rural nonfarmers, former farmers, nonfarm residents, and unfarmed regions were ignored by policymakers.
In The Failure of National Rural Policy, William P. Browne blends history, politics, and economics to show that federal government emphasis on farm productivity has failed to meet broader rural needs and actually has increased rural poverty. He explains how strong public institutions, which developed agrarianism, led to narrowed concepts of the public interest. Reviewing past efforts to expand farm policy benefits to other rural residents, Browne documents the fragmentation of farm policy within the agricultural establishment as farm services grew, the evolution of political turf protection, and the resultant difficulties of rural advocacy. Arguing for an integrated theory of governing institutions and related political interests, he maintains that nonfarm rural society can make a realistic claim for public policy assistance.
Written informally, each chapter is followed by comments on the implications of its topics and summaries of key points. The book will serve as a stimulating text for students of public policy, national affairs, rural sociology, and community development—as well as anyone concerned with the future of agrarian America.
Food policy and practices varied widely in Nicaragua during the last decades of the twentieth century. In the 1970s and ‘80s, food scarcity contributed to the demise of the Somoza dictatorship and the Sandinista revolution. Although faced with widespread scarcity and political restrictions, Nicaraguan consumers still carved out spaces for defining their food choices. Despite economic crises, rationing, and war limiting peoples’ food selection, consumers responded with improvisation in daily cooking practices and organizing food exchanges through three distinct periods. First, the Somoza dictatorship (1936–1979) promoted culture and food practices from the United States, which was an option only for a minority of citizens. Second, the 1979 Sandinista revolution tried to steer Nicaraguans away from mass consumption by introducing an austere, frugal consumption that favored local products. Third, the transition to democracy between 1988 and 1993, marked by extreme scarcity and economic crisis, witnessed the re-introduction of market mechanisms, mass advertising, and imported goods. Despite the erosion of food policy during transition, the Nicaraguan revolution contributed to recognizing food security as a basic right and the rise of peasant movements for food sovereignty.
The Confédération Paysanne, one of France's largest farmers' unions, has successfully fought against genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but unlike other allied movements, theirs has been led by producers rather than consumers. In Food, Farms, and Solidarity, Chaia Heller analyzes the group's complex strategies and campaigns, including a call for a Europe-wide ban on GM crops and hormone-treated beef, and a protest staged at a McDonald's. Her study of the Confédération Paysanne shows the challenges small farms face in a postindustrial agricultural world. Heller also reveals how the language the union uses to argue against GMOs encompasses more than the risks they pose; emphasizing solidarity has allowed farmers to focus on food as a cultural practice and align themselves with other workers. Heller's examination of the Confédération Paysanne's commitment to a vision of alter-globalization, the idea of substantive alternatives to neoliberal globalization, demonstrates how ecological and social justice can be restored in the world.
Look at any list of America’s top foodie cities and you probably won’t find Boise, Idaho or Sitka, Alaska. Yet they are the new face of the food movement. Healthy, sustainable fare is changing communities across this country, revitalizing towns that have been ravaged by disappearing industries and decades of inequity.
What sparked this revolution? To find out, Mark Winne traveled to seven cities not usually considered revolutionary. He broke bread with brew masters and city council members, farmers and philanthropists, toured start-up incubators and homeless shelters. What he discovered was remarkable, even inspiring.
In Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, once a company steel town, investment in the arts has created a robust new market for local restaurateurs. In Alexandria, Louisiana, “one-stop shopping” food banks help clients apply for health insurance along with SNAP benefits. In Jacksonville, Florida, aeroponics are bringing fresh produce to a food desert.
Over the course of his travels, Winne experienced the power of individuals to transform food and the power of food to transform communities. The cities of Food Town, USA remind us that innovation is ripening all across the country, especially in the most unlikely places.
Through a comprehensive analysis of American agricultural politics in the past half-century, Gaining Access shows when, how, and why interest groups gain and lose influence in the policy deliberations of the United States Congress. By consulting with policy advocates, John Mark Hansen argues, lawmakers offset their uncertainty about the policy stands that will bolster or impede their prospects for reelection. The advocates provide legislators with electoral intelligence in Washington and supportive propaganda at home, earning serious consideration of their policy views in return. From among a multitude of such informants, representatives must choose those they will most closely consult.
With evidence from congressional hearings, personal interviews, oral histories, farm and trade journals, and newspapers, Hansen traces the evolution of farm lobby access in Congress. He chronicles the rise and fall of the American Farm Bureau, the surge and decline of party politics, the incoporation of the commodity lobbies, the exclusion of the consumer lobbies, and the accommodation of urban interests in food stamps.
Brilliantly combining insights from rational choice theory with historical data, Gaining Access is an essential guide for anyone interested in the dynamics of interest group influence.
Issues of ecology—both as they appear in the works of nature writers and in the works of literary writers for whom place and the land are central issues—have long been of interest to literary critics and have given rise over the last two decades to the now-firmly established field of ecocriticism. At the same time, a new group of ecology advocates has emerged since the 1960s: contemporary agrarian writers such as Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, and Gene Logsdon draw their basic premises from the Nashville Agrarians of the 1920s and 1930s, and focus strictly on the actual intersections of land and people, striving to enact a healthy coexistence between the two. For agrarians, theory and academic philosophizing often seem inconsequential and even counterproductive.
In Grounded Vision, William Major puts contemporary agrarian thinking into a conciliatory and productive dialogue with academic criticism. He argues that the lack of participation in academic discussions means a loss to both agrarians and academics, since agrarian thought can enrich other ongoing discussions on topics such as ecocriticism, postmodernism, feminism, work studies, and politics—especially in light of the recent upsurge in grassroots cultural and environmental activities critical of modernity, such as the sustainable agriculture and slow food movements.
Major also focuses on agrarianism itself—the valuable relationship it advocates between workers and the land they work, the politics involved in maintaining healthy communities, and the impact of contemporary agrarian writers on the world today. Major thus shows contemporary agrarianism to be a successful instigator of the same social examination for which much academic criticism strives. Major illuminates the ways in which agrarianism’s wide scope and often-unyielding demands are founded in, and work toward, a deep respect and understanding of the connections between the health of the land and its peoples, communities, and economies, and he argues that it raises questions about work, leisure, consumerism, and science to such a degree that it leaves little doubt how fundamental agriculture is to culture.
Farmers, who own or rent most of the private land in America, hold the key not only to the nation's food supply, but also to managing community growth, maintaining an attractive landscape, and protecting water and wildlife resources.
While the issue of protecting farmland and open space is not new, the intensity of the challenge has increased. Farmers are harder pressed to make a living, and rural and suburban communities are struggling to accommodate increasing populations and the development that comes with them. Holding Our Ground can help landowners and communities devise and implement effective strategies for protecting farmland. The book:
discusses the reasons for protecting farmland and how to make those reasons widely known and understood
describes the business of farming, federal government farm programs, and the role of land in farmers's decisions
analyzes federal, state, and local farmland protection efforts and techniques
explores a variety of land protection options including purchase of development rights; transfer of development rights; private land trusts; and financial, tax, and estate planning
reviews the strengths and weaknesses of the farmland protection tools available
The authors describe the many challenges involved in protecting farmland and explain how to create a package of techniques that can meet those challenges. In addition, they offer appendixes with model zoning ordinances, nuisance disclaimers, conservation easements, and other documents that individuals and communities need to carry out the programs discussed.
Holding Our Ground provides citizens, elected officials, planners, and landowners with a solid basis for understanding the issues behind farmland protection, and will be an invaluable resource in developing techniques and programs for achieving long-term protection goals.
Using economic models and empirical analysis, this volume examines a wide range of agricultural and biofuel policy issues and their effects on American agricultural and related agrarian insurance markets. Beginning with a look at the distribution of funds by insurance programs—created to support farmers but often benefiting crop processors instead—the book then examines the demand for biofuel and the effects of biofuel policies on agricultural price uncertainty. Also discussed are genetically engineered crops, which are assuming an increasingly important role in arbitrating tensions between energy production, environmental protection, and the global food supply. Other contributions discuss the major effects of genetic engineering on worldwide food markets. By addressing some of the most challenging topics at the intersection of agriculture and biotechnology, this volume informs crucial debates.
Following the largest peasant revolution in history, Russia's urban-based Bolshevik regime was faced with a monumental task: to peacefully “modernize” and eventually “socialize” the peasants in the countryside surrounding Russia's cities. To accomplish this, the Bolshevik leadership created the People's Commissariat of Agriculture (Narkomzem), which would eventually employ 70,000 workers. This commissariat was particularly important, both because of massive famine and because peasants composed the majority of Russia's population; it was also regarded as one of the most moderate state agencies because of its nonviolent approach to rural transformation.
Working from recently opened historical archives, James Heinzen presents a balanced, thorough examination of the political, social, and cultural dilemmas present in the Bolsheviks' strategy for modernizing of the peasantry. He especially focuses on the state employees charged with no less than a complete transformation of an entire class of people. Heinzen ultimately shows how disputes among those involved in this plan-from the government, to Communist leaders, to the peasants themselves-led to the shuttering of the Commissariat of Agriculture and to Stalin's cataclysmic 1929 collectivization of agriculture.
Half of Indonesia’s massive population still lives on farms, and for these tens of millions of people the revolutionary promise of land reform remains largely unfulfilled. The Basic Agrarian Law, enacted in the wake of the Indonesian revolution, was supposed to provide access to land and equitable returns for peasant farmers. But fifty years later, the law’s objectives of social justice have not been achieved.
Land for the People provides a comprehensive look at land conflict and agrarian reform throughout Indonesia’s recent history, from the roots of land conflicts in the prerevolutionary period and the Sukarno and Suharto regimes, to the present day, in which democratization is creating new contexts for people’s claims to the land. Drawing on studies from across Indonesia’s diverse landscape, the contributors examine some of the most significant issues and events affecting land rights, including shifts in policy from the early postrevolutionary period to the New Order; the Land Administration Project that formed the core of land policy during the late New Order period; a long-running and representative dispute over a golf course in West Java that pitted numerous local farmers against the government and local elites; Suharto’s notorious “million hectare” project that resulted in loss of access to land and resources for numerous indigenous farmers in Kalimantan; and the struggle by Bandung’s urban poor to be treated equitably in the context of commercial land development. Together, these essays provide a critical resource for understanding one of Indonesia’s most pressing and most influential issues.
Contributors: Afrizal, Dianto Bachriadi, Anton Lucas, John McCarthy, John Mansford Prior, Gustaaf Reerink, Carol Warren, and Gunawan Wiradi.
The Lysenko Affair
David Joravsky University of Chicago Press, 1986 Library of Congress HD1993.J67 1986 | Dewey Decimal 338.1847
The Lysenko affair was perhaps the most bizarre chapter in the history of modern science. For thirty years, until 1965, Soviet genetics was dominated by a fanatical agronomist who achieved dictatorial power over genetics and plant science as well as agronomy.
"A standard source both for Soviet specialists and for sociologists of science."—American Journal of Sociology
"Joravsky has produced . . . the most detailed and authoritative treatment of Lysenko and his view on genetics."—New York Times Book Review
Agricultural protectionism is a basic factor underlying the U.S. trade deficit, Third World debt, and global underemployment. Yet despite the seriousness of the problem and attention given to it by many researchers, little progress has been made in formulating and implementing policies to deal with it. The scholars and experts here assembled present for the first time a quantification and analysis of the impact upon the world economy of reduction or elimination of agricultural protectionism. They question why, give the magnitude of the problem, inferior policies endure despite the weight of evidence that they have failed. The answer they derive is that there is no general understanding of the true cost of the failure, and therefore it is necessary to initiate reform from outside agricultural circles.
“No condition is permanent,” a popular West African slogan, expresses Sara S. Berry’s theme: the obstacles to African agrarian development never stay the same. Her book explores the complex way African economy and society are tied to issues of land and labor, offering a comparative study of agrarian change in four rural economies in sub-Saharan Africa, including two that experienced long periods of expanding peasant production for export (southern Ghana and southwestern Nigeria), a settler economy (central Kenya), and a rural labor reserve (northeastern Zambia).
The resources available to African farmers have changed dramatically over the course of the twentieth century. Berry asserts that the ways resources are acquired and used are shaped not only by the incorporation of a rural area into colonial (later national) and global political economies, but also by conflicts over culture, power, and property within and beyond rural communities. By tracing the various debates over rights to resources and their effects on agricultural production and farmers’ uses of income, Berry presents agrarian change as a series of on-going processes rather than a set of discrete “successes” and “failures.” No Condition Is Permanent enriches the discussion of agrarian development by showing how multidisciplinary studies of local agrarian history can constructively contribute to development policy. The book is a contribution both to African agrarian history and to debates over the role of agriculture in Africa’s recent economic crises.
The Qing state, driven by Confucian precepts of good government and urgent practical needs, committed vast resources to its granaries. Nourish the People traces the basic practices of this system, analyzes the organizational bases of its successes and failures, and examines variant practices in different regions. The volume concludes with an assessment of the granary system’s social and economic impact and historical comparison with the food supply policies of other states.
Harry Truman’s “Fair Deal” domestic policy agenda promised to continue Roosevelt’s New Deal and, with some modification for postwar realities, to guide America into a new age of peace and prosperity. Agricultural policy was a cornerstone of this program, as it attempted to transform the farm program from the parity price foundation crafted by FDR to one based on income support through direct payment to farmers.
Virgil W. Dean takes a new look at the much-heralded “Brannan Plan” to examine in detail the farm policy dilemma and Truman’s quest for a long-range agricultural program that would confront the problems of an industry in the midst of a technological revolution—one in which regional and commodity-based differences only served to complicate any solution. He assesses Truman’s relationships with the farming community and with politicians of both parties and analyzes the complex problems facing those concerned about the welfare of the American farm, focusing on their search for a workable peacetime program—especially as it related to price supports—and their failure to come to terms with the issues.
Dean describes how supporters of the Brannan Plan recognized its promise of social and economic equity while opponents feared excessive government spending, creeping socialism, and the regimentation of agriculture. He also tells how agriculture secretary Charles Brannan interjected partisan politics to an unprecedented degree in policy making—and how Truman used agricultural policy against the Republicans in the 1948 election by creating an issue with little basis in fact.
As Dean shows, the failure of Truman’s efforts meant that the nation lost an opportunity to effect a much-needed change in agricultural policy, yet the issues raised remained at the heart of the farm policy debate for decades to come—with “direct income” morphing into “deficiency payments” to satisfy farmers not wanting to appear to be on welfare. An Opportunity Lost makes a major contribution to our understanding of the Truman administration’s political activities at a time when the agricultural community had a strong voice in the formulation of domestic policy, and it casts new light on the overall fate of the Fair Deal.
Stephen Bunker challenges the image of peasants as passive victims and argues that coffee growers in the Bugisu District of Uganda, because they own land and may choose which crops to produce, maintain an unusual degree of economic and political independence.
Focusing on peasant struggles for market control over coffee exports in Bugisu from colonial times through the reign and overthrow of Idi Amin, Bunker shows that these freeholding peasants acted collectively and used the state's dependence on coffee export revenues to effectively influence and veto government programs inimical to their interests.
Bunker's work vividly portrays the small victories and great trials of ordinary people struggling to control their own economic destiny while resisting the power of the world economy.
Despite substantial transformations in American agriculture, farm program spending remains a closely guarded prerogative of United States agricultural policy. Policy Reform in American Agriculture examines both the history of farm subsidies and the contemporary relevance of traditional farm programs to today's agricultural industries.
This work analyzes the mixed performance of past agricultural support programs, reviews the current debate concerning farm policies, and critically assesses the often staunch political resistance to much-needed policy reforms. Casting a keen eye toward the most recent developments on both national and international fronts, the authors consider the ramifications of the 1996 Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform (FAIR) Act as well as multilateral efforts to gain agricultural reform during the Uruguay Round of GATT. Their prognosis hinges upon both the continued growth and competitiveness of the world market and, perhaps more importantly, the ongoing commitment of congressional reform advocates.
In December 1978 the Chinese Communist Party announced dramatic changes in policy for both agriculture and industry that seemed to repudiate the Maoist “road to socialism” in favor of certain “capitalist” tendencies. The motives behind these changes, the nature of the reforms, and their effects upon the economy and political life of countryside and city are here analyzed by five political scientists and five economists. Their assessments of ongoing efforts to implement the new policies provide a timely survey of what is currently happening in China.
Part One delineates the content of agricultural reforms—including decollectivization and the provisions for households to realize private profits—and examines their impact on production, marketing, peasant income, family planning, local leadership, and rural violence. Part Two examines the evolution of industrial reforms, centering on enterprise profit retention, and their impact on political conflict, resource allocation, investment, material and financial flows, industrial structure, and composition of output. Through all ten chapters one theme is conspicuous—the multiple interactions between politics and economics in China’s new directions since the Cultural Revolution.
This definitive study brings together recent critiques of development and work in postcolonial studies to explore what the postcolonial condition has meant to rural people in the Third World. Focusing on local-level agricultural practices in India since the “green revolution” of the 1960s, Akhil Gupta challenges the dichotomy of “developed” and “underdeveloped,” as well as the notion of a monolithic postcolonial condition. In so doing, he advances discussions of modernity in the Third World and offers a new model for future ethnographic scholarship. Based on fieldwork done in the village of Alipur in rural north India from the early 1980s through the 1990s, Postcolonial Developments examines development itself as a post–World War II sociopolitical ideological formation, critiques related policies, and explores the various uses of the concept of the “indigenous” in several discursive contexts. Gupta begins with an analysis of the connections and conflicts between the world food economy, transnational capital, and technological innovations in wheat production. He then examines narratives of village politics in Alipur to show how certain discourses influenced governmental policies on the green revolution. Drawing links between village life, national trends, and global forces, Gupta concludes with a discussion of the implications of environmentalism as exemplified by the Rio Earth Summit and an examination of how global environmental treaties may detrimentally affect the lives of subaltern peoples. With a series of subtle observations on rural politics, nationalism, gender, modernization, and difference, this innovative study capitalizes on many different disciplines: anthropology, sociology, comparative politics, cultural geography, ecology, political science, agricultural economics, and history.
Reassessing the Cambodian genocide through the lens of global capitalist development.
James Tyner reinterprets the place of agriculture under the Khmer Rouge, positioning it in new ways relative to Marxism, capitalism, and genocide. The Cambodian revolutionaries’ agricultural management is widely viewed by critics as irrational and dangerous, and it is invoked as part of wider efforts to discredit leftist movements. Researching the specific functioning of Cambodia’s transition from farms to agriculture within the context of the global economy, Tyner comes to a different conclusion. He finds that analysis of “actually existing political economy”—as opposed to the Marxist identification the Khmer Rouge claimed—points to overlap between Cambodian practice and agrarian capitalism.
Tyner argues that dissolution of the traditional Khmer family farm under the aegis of state capitalism is central to any understanding of the mass violence unleashed by the Khmer Rouge. Seen less as a radical outlier than as part of a global shift in farming and food politics, the Cambodian tragedy imparts new lessons to our understanding of the political economy of genocide.
In 1968, the director of USAID coined the term “green revolution” to celebrate the new technological solutions that promised to ease hunger around the world—and forestall the spread of more “red,” or socialist, revolutions. Yet in China, where modernization and scientific progress could not be divorced from politics, green and red revolutions proceeded side by side.
In Red Revolution, Green Revolution, Sigrid Schmalzer explores the intersection of politics and agriculture in socialist China through the diverse experiences of scientists, peasants, state agents, and “educated youth.” The environmental costs of chemical-intensive agriculture and the human costs of emphasizing increasing production over equitable distribution of food and labor have been felt as strongly in China as anywhere—and yet, as Schmalzer shows, Mao-era challenges to technocracy laid important groundwork for today’s sustainability and food justice movements. This history of “scientific farming” in China offers us a unique opportunity not only to explore the consequences of modern agricultural technologies but also to engage in a necessary rethinking of fundamental assumptions about science and society.
Righteous Revolutionaries illustrates how states appeal to popular morality—shared understandings of right and wrong—to forge new group identities and mobilize violence against perceived threats to their authority. Jeffrey A. Javed examines the Chinese Communist Party’s mass mobilization of violence during its land reform campaign in the early 1950s, one of the most violent and successful state-building efforts in history. Using an array of novel archival, documentary, and quantitative historical data, this book illustrates that China’s land reform campaign was not just about economic redistribution but rather part of a larger, brutally violent state-building effort to delegitimize the new party-state’s internal rivals and establish its moral authority.
Righteous Revolutionaries argues that the Chinese Party-state simultaneously removed perceived threats to its authority at the grassroots and bolstered its legitimacy through a process called moral mobilization. This mobilization process created a moral boundary that designated a virtuous ingroup of “the masses” and a demonized outgroup of “class enemies,” mobilized the masses to participate in violence against this broadly defined outgroup, and strengthened this symbolic boundary by making the masses complicit in state violence. Righteous Revolutionaries shows how we can find traces of moral mobilization in China today under Xi Jinping’s rule. In an era where states and politicians regularly weaponize moral emotions to foment intergroup conflict and violence, understanding the dynamics of violent mobilization and state authority are more relevant than ever before.
On the eve of the twentieth century, Peru seemed like a profitable and yet fairly unexploited country. Both foreign capitalists and local state makers envisioned how remote highland areas were essential to a sustainable national economy. Mobilizing Andean populations lay at the core of this endeavor. In his groundbreaking book, The Rural State, Javier Puente uncovers the surprising and overlooked ways that Peru’s rural communities formed the political nation-state that still exists today.
Puente documents how people living in the Peruvian central sierra in the twentieth century confronted emerging and consolidating powers of state and capital and engaged in an ongoing struggle over increasingly elusive subsistence and autonomies. Over the years, policy, politics, and social turmoil shaped the rural, mountainous regions of Peru until violent unrest, perpetrated by the Shining Path and other revolutionary groups, unveiled the extent, limits, and fractures of a century-long process of rural state formation. Examining the conflicts between one rural community and the many iterations of statehood in the central sierra of Peru, The Rural State offers a fresh perspective on how the Andes became la sierra, how pueblos became comunidades, and how indígenas became campesinos.
Planting and transplanting, seeding and reshaping—landscaping practices that emerged in the eighteenth century—are inextricable from the contested terrain of empire within which they operated. From the plantations of the “nabobs” to the island gardens of narrative fiction, from William Beckford’s estate at Fonthill to Marie Antoinette’s ornamented farm, Sowing Empire considers imperial relandscaping—its patriarchal organization, heterosexual reproduction, and slavery—and how it contributed to the construction of imperial power. At the same time, the book shows how these picturesque landscapes and sugar plantations contained within them the seeds of resistance—how, for instance, slave gardens and the Afro-Caribbean practice of Vodou threatened authority and created new possibilities for once again transforming the landscape.In an ambitious work of wide-ranging literary, visual, and historical allusion, Jill H. Casid examines how landscaping functioned in an imperial mode that defined and remade the “heartlands” of nations as well as the contact zones and colonial peripheries in the West and East Indies. Revealing the colonial landscape as far more than an agricultural system—as a means of regulating national, sexual, and gender identities—Casid also traces how the circulation of plants and hybridity influenced agriculture and landscaping on European soil and how colonial contacts materially shaped what we take as “European.”Utilizing a wide range of both visual and written sources—maps, literature, and travel writing—this book is interdisciplinary in its methodology and in its scope. Sowing Empire explores how postcolonial and queer studies can alter art history and visual studies and, in turn, what close attention to the visual may offer to both postcolonial theorizing and historically and materially based colonial cultural studies.Jill H. Casid is assistant professor of art history and part of the developing transdisciplinary program in visual culture studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Listen to a short interview with Robert PaarlbergHost: Chris Gondek | Producer: Heron & Crane
Heading upcountry in Africa to visit small farms is absolutely exhilarating given the dramatic beauty of big skies, red soil, and arid vistas, but eventually the two-lane tarmac narrows to rutted dirt, and the journey must continue on foot. The farmers you eventually meet are mostly women, hardworking but visibly poor. They have no improved seeds, no chemical fertilizers, no irrigation, and with their meager crops they earn less than a dollar a day. Many are malnourished.
Nearly two-thirds of Africans are employed in agriculture, yet on a per-capita basis they produce roughly 20 percent less than they did in 1970. Although modern agricultural science was the key to reducing rural poverty in Asia, modern farm science—including biotechnology—has recently been kept out of Africa.
In Starved for Science Robert Paarlberg explains why poor African farmers are denied access to productive technologies, particularly genetically engineered seeds with improved resistance to insects and drought. He traces this obstacle to the current opposition to farm science in prosperous countries. Having embraced agricultural science to become well-fed themselves, those in wealthy countries are now instructing Africans—on the most dubious grounds—not to do the same.
In a book sure to generate intense debate, Paarlberg details how this cultural turn against agricultural science among affluent societies is now being exported, inappropriately, to Africa. Those who are opposed to the use of agricultural technologies are telling African farmers that, in effect, it would be just as well for them to remain poor.
The most striking feature of British colonialism in the twentieth century was the confidence it expressed in the use of science and expertise, especially when joined with the new bureaucratic capacities of the state, to develop natural and human resources of the empire.
Triumph of the Expert is a history of British colonial doctrine and its contribution to the emergence of rural development and environmental policies in the late colonial and postcolonial period. Joseph Morgan Hodge examines the way that development as a framework of ideas and institutional practices emerged out of the strategic engagement between science and the state at the climax of the British Empire. Hodge looks intently at the structural constraints, bureaucratic fissures, and contradictory imperatives that beset and ultimately overwhelmed the late colonial development mission in sub-Saharan Africa, south and southeast Asia, and the Caribbean.
Triumph of the Expert seeks to understand the quandaries that led up to the important transformation in British imperial thought and practice and the intellectual and administrative legacies it left behind.