corvée labour

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corvée labour

a form of labour required by a state, or state representative, often as a form of rent, taxation or other tribute. Various societies in history have exhibited forms of corvée labour. Wittfogel (1957) saw it as a particular feature of ORIENTAL DESPOTISM, distinguishing this form from SERFDOM, in which labour obligations are extracted by a landlord rather than by a state.
References in periodicals archive ?
Giesegaard appears to have been successful in completely marginalizing the traditional, elected chairmen of the village council and replacing them with so called bondefogeder, or peasant bailiffs, whose main task was to help the steward in mobilizing corvee manpower in return for their own exemption from corvee labour.
One could say that within the hierarchy of the village, the fatalists - to be allowed to live their life - had to stand by and watch the strivers helping themselves; just as, outwardly, they had to satisfy a minimum of Giesegaard's requirements for corvee labour, taxes and a certain superficial obedience.
Nevertheless, the steward did point out the negative consequences of corvee labour for peasants who, because of poor implements and weak horses, were already behind with their own farming.