Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Peasants' movements have been important expressions of the formation of the modern world, and they still are. Whether resisting colonization of the commons, protesting capture of their granaries by merchants and rulers, disputing land claims, contending with centralizing states over the unequal terms of their incorporation, or joining millenarian struggles, peasants have been compelled to respond to the array of forces attending the development of capitalist property relations. Why should this not be the case today? Conventional wisdom would have it that the world's peasantries are destined to disappear in the face of competitive pressures from capital-intensive agriculture, expelling them into burgeoning urban labor forces. This development scenario embodies a modernity trope that modern civilization is centered on the city, as an escape from parochialism and the drudgery of rural life. Peasants, here understood in a wider sense as agricultural smallholders or laborers, but also including pastoralists or fishermen, are ...