Title

From Peasants to Farmers: Peasant Differentiation, Labor Regimes and Land-rights Institutions in China’s Agrarian Transition

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2010

Abstract

The development of factor markets has opened Chinese agriculture for the penetration of capitalism. This new round of rural transformation—China’s agrarian transition— raises the agrarian question in the Chinese context. This study investigates how capitalist forms and relations of production transform agricultural production and the peasantry class in rural China. The authors identify six forms of nonpeasant agricultural production, compare the labor regimes and direct producers’ socioeconomic statuses across these forms, and evaluate the role of China’s land-rights institution in shaping these forms. The empirical investigation presents three main findings: (1) Peasant differentiation : capitalist forms of agricultural production differentiate peasants into a variety of new class positions. (2) Market-based stratification: producers in capitalist agriculture are primarily stratified by their positions in labor and land markets; their socioeconomic statuses are linked with their varying degrees of proletarianization. (3) Institutional mediation: rural China’s dual-track land system plays a crucial role in shaping the diverse and unique forms of capitalist production.

Keywords

China, peasants, agrarian transition, capitalism, land rights

Discipline

Agricultural and Resource Economics | Asian Studies | Labor Economics

Research Areas

Political Science

Publication

Politics and Society

Volume

38

Issue

4

First Page

458

Last Page

489

ISSN

0032-3292

Identifier

10.1177/0032329210381236

Publisher

SAGE

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0032329210381236

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