The Peasantries of the Twenty-First Century: the Commoditisation Debat revisited

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This article examines the re-emergence of the peasantry. It argues that farming is increasingly being restructured in a peasant-like way. This restructuring is an actively constructed response to the agrarian crisis that has grown out of five decades of state-induced modernisation and is currently being accelerated by the financial crisis and the generalised economic depression. Through a process of restructuring that is both multi-dimensional and multi-level farmers are reconstituting themselves into peasants (although important features of operating as peasants have never been completely absent), a process that is occurring as much in developed countries as in developing ones. At more or less the same time theoretical concepts of the peasantry and the peasant way of farming are being rediscovered and revisited. Earlier debates are highly relevant for understanding the current situation of a generalised crisis and the responses that are being triggered among farmers. The rediscovery of the peasant as theoretically meaningful concept reflects the socio-material re-emergence of the peasantry, and helps to explain the particular features of this process. The article concludes by arguing that the reconstitution of the peasantry is strategic to future world food security
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
JournalThe Journal of Peasant Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • agrarian change
  • rural-development
  • agriculture
  • labor
  • land
  • food
  • commercialization
  • differentiation
  • 20th-century
  • capitalism

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