Differentiation as understood in the Chayanovian tradition

Jan Douwe van der Ploeg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Using a recently re-discovered text by Alexander Chayanov, this article argues that while demographic differentiation may lead to stratification, this is, for a variety of reasons, mostly temporary and does not generally result in the formation of antagonistic rural classes. At the same time there is also the far more deep-rooted phenomenon of market-induced differentiation. This latter type stems from, and reflects, capital’s ability to create and bridge price differentials, mostly through long-distance trading and food engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1261-1273
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Issue number4
Early online date6 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2023


  • Chayanovian approach
  • demographic and market-induced)
  • Differentiation (social
  • discrepancies
  • frontiers
  • peasantry


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