On Peasant Rent

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:
On Peasant Rent

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This chapter deals specifically with unresolved issues that emerged in studies of peasant societies worldwide by using a Marxian approach to clarify and specify the relevance of the concept of rent to an understanding of peasants. Peasant studies in American anthropology have taken two different approaches. This study focuses on an approach that departs from the study of the material, economic, and political processes at work in peasant life, and aims at constructing a political economy of peasantry. It discusses mechanisms linking cultivators to economy and polity, to market and state. Significant variations in the peasant condition could be accounted for by the different ways in which rent was assigned and transferred. Rent undergoes a change of function. Peasants—in exchange for their personal freedom and the right to private property—must pay taxes to the state.

Keywords: Marxian approach; peasant; rent; taxes; American anthropology; political economy

Chapter.  4810 words. 

Subjects: Theory and Practice of Anthropology

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