Peasants - Peasants Peasants were a forgotten topic of...

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Unformatted text preview: Peasants Peasants were a forgotten topic of study until the late 60s early 70s when they re- emerged as an area of important research. After decades of languishing in obscurity peasants became a hot topic. The character, livelihood and fate of the massive rural populations of the worlds poorest and potentially most explosive areas were being presented as one of the most crucial topics. Peasants were suddenly being thrust forward by academics and journalists as one of the structural determinants of the developing societies. Why the interest? Peasants have existed for centuries as the vast majority of the worlds population. The actual validity of peasants as a typology has been in doubt for three reasons: 1. The extensive diversity between peasantries in different regions and communities seems to prevent generalization; 2. Peasants must be considered in their change and transformation as a process; 3. Peasants, particularly in the modern context, form part of a broader society so why single them out instead of incorporating them into the general social analysis of society and distinguish them using quantitative scales of being poorer, less educated, or more traditional than the members of other sections of society. A generalization does not automatically imply homogeneity; quite to the contrary comparative studies assume the existence of both similarities and differences. A generalization is not a representation of truth but an abstraction that is used as a learning tool (heuristic). Even if peasant are to considered as a process they can still exist as a typology. Even though they are part of broader society does not mean they should not be studied in their specific role and environment. Basic Definition Small agricultural producers, who, with the help of simple equipment and the labour of their families, produce mostly for their own consumption, direct or indirect, and for the fulfilment of obligations to holders of political and economic power (Shanin, 1987, p.3) This definition is a two dimensional sketch of reality. To see the greater picture you must also remain aware of actual families and their land, the agriculture, the community and its culture and the position the peasants fill within the greater society....
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Peasants - Peasants Peasants were a forgotten topic of...

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