Title

Comparing Local Models of Agrarian Transition in China

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-2013

Abstract

The development of markets and the penetration of capital into agriculture have started the agrarian transition in rural China, which is transforming smallholding, household-based agriculture into various forms of capitalistic production. This again raises in a new historical and social context the long-debated question in the agrarian transition literature: Can family farms survive the onslaught of capitalist agriculture based on wage labor and what shapes the confrontation between family farms and agro-capital? I argue that it is the local political economy—rather than some natural obstacles in agriculture to the penetration of capitalism—that shapes this confrontation and gives rise to a variety of local patterns in how family producers interact with agro-capital. Conceptually, the primary dimension in which local patterns diverge is how direct producers’ transactions with the product market are mediated. Based on this distinction, I identify three distinct local paths of agrarian transition—agribusiness-led corporate production, independent household production, and cooperative production. I use data collected from fieldwork and secondary sources to show how, in each model, characteristics of the local pattern are shaped by the local political economy.

Keywords

China, agrarian transition, capitalism, family farming, cooperatives, agribusiness

Discipline

Asian Studies | Rural Sociology

Research Areas

Sociology

Publication

Rural China

Volume

10

Issue

1

First Page

5

Last Page

35

ISSN

2213-6738

Identifier

10.1163/22136746-12341235

Publisher

Brill

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1163/22136746-12341235