Agrarian change in an east Chinese village

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Agrarian change in an east Chinese village

 

Author: Jiang, Hongda
Title: Agrarian change in an east Chinese village
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2011
Subject: Agriculture -- Economic aspects.
Agriculture -- Social aspects.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: iii, 155 p. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2462495
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6265
Abstract: This thesis investigates agrarian change in Plough Village which is located in the eastern coast of China. It primarily explores the transformation of relations of production in the village since the market reform in the late 1970s. In the thesis, I focus on two issues: the change in peasant-land relationships and the development of social differentiation and class relations. The opening chapter sets the scene of the thesis. It begins with an introduction to the macro politico-economic situations confronting Chinese peasantry today and suggests that with the development of capitalism, relations of production in the countryside have changed and exerted significant impact on rural people's livelihood. It then further reviews studies on agrarian political economy from classical theories to contemporary researches and, on that basis, constructs the theoretical and methodological framework for my own study. The second chapter gives a general description of Plough Village. It briefly introduces geographical, climate and socio-economic conditions in the village. The third chapter is one of the two major chapters of the thesis. It discusses the transformation of human-land relations in the village. By reviewing rural constructions in the collective era, it argues that Plough Villagers established a relatively harmonious relationship with their land on the basis of collective economy in which the soil fertility was maintained and soil quality improved. However, with the rise of de facto private ownership of land and commodity relations initiated by the rural reform, this virtuous relationship has been gradually undermined. Erosion of traditional farming skills, capital intensification of agricultural production and especially the development of commercial agriculture combine to destroy the land vitality. This chapter concludes that after three decades' evolution a new, exploitative relationship between Plough Villagers and their land has been established and, thus, plundering of soil fertility becomes increasingly common. The other major chapter examines the process of social differentiation in the village. It argues that the development of capitalist employment creates a class differentiation in the village. The once equalitarian village basing on the peasant-household economy, as indicated in this chapter, has divided into four groups of people (classes): marginalized peasants, impoverished peasants, moderate peasants and rich peasants. The exploitative economic relations have become the major bonds of different groups of people in the village. Due to the development of employment and commodity relations in the countryside, Plough Village has been incorporated into the whole capitalist economy in China. The final chapter concludes that the above two issues are not isolated but rather interdependent and subject to the same dynamics of capitalist production.

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