Specific Aspects of Plantation Systems in the New World

Eric R. Wolf

in Pathways of Power

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520223332
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924871 | DOI:
Specific Aspects of Plantation Systems in the New World

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This chapter attempts to discuss peasants in relation to landless workers and other social groupings within plantation systems. It places a typological construct on a continuum that could do justice to the range of variation in existing plantation systems in the New World and traces out the implications of these variable modes for the formation of subcultures, classes, and communities in the different regions. Plantation creates new communities, which translates in spatial terms into the chain of command of owners, managers, overseers, permanent laborers, and seasonal workers. The new-style plantation dispenses altogether with personalized phrasings of its technical requirements. These may involve attempts to widen the resource base through the manipulation of two different sets of cultural forms and attempts to improve life chances through mobility and, finally, to defend a specialized culturally defined niche and to participate in the life of the host society through a double adaptation.

Keywords: peasants; plantation systems; cultural forms; double adaptation; landless workers

Chapter.  6333 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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