peasant society

peasant society

small-scale social organization in which PEASANTS predominate with features distinctive from other social groupings. While sometimes the term is used to refer to a large SOCIETY in which peasants are the majority, most usages would limit the term to a narrower meaning approximating to COMMUNITY. Peasants live in various societies, mainly AGRARIAN SOCIETIES, within which there are other social groups, so that it is not possible to characterize the whole society by referring to one of those groups. However, within a village or region, peasant social relationships may dominate. Characteristically these may be centred around kin and family ties, the importance of access to land, a distrust of outsiders and a cyclical view of time. An area of debate is whether such commonalities can be easily distinguished given the wide range of locations it has been claimed that peasants have occupied for most of human history.

In any peasant community there will be people who are not analytically defined as peasants. These may be traders, truckers, moneylenders, labourers without land, craftspeople, who may command a similar income to peasants and who may have close social and economic links to peasants. People who are analytically defined as ‘peasants’ will often engage in some of these activities for part of their time. In the modern world in particular, there will also be people who may be more economically and socially distant from the peasantry. Most importantly these will be state functionaries, representatives of national or foreign corporations selling anything from tractors to pharmaceuticals, and there may be independent professionals: lawyers, physicians, etc. Some of these may be identified as brokers who mediate between the peasant village and the wider society. The larger the village, the more likely that these will be present, and even villages without them will have strong links with provincial towns where these nonpeasant groups are located. Thus, while definitions of the peasantry sometimes rest on the functioning of the household, it is essential to see how this is firmly integrated into a wider social, political and economic network. see also PEASANT POLITICS.

References in periodicals archive ?
Under Stalin, the Soviet Union was transformed from a peasant society into an industrial and military superpower.
Finally, it is situated in a historical perspective and, thus, reveals the dynamics of the transformation of a peasant society more clearly.
The goal throughout the socialist transformation was to turn the peasant society of Laos to socialism without ever becoming a capitalist society.
Foster, "Peasant Society and the Image of Limited Good," American Anthropologist 67, no.
Under the dictator Pol Pot, the Communist party Khmer Rouge committed genocide in its attempt to form a classless peasant society. Ung was born to a high-ranking official and was 5 when the Khmer Rouge stormed Phnom Penh.
Peasant society continued to be embedded in clientelist relations in this region and the peasants were dependent to the land-owning and commercial classes.
Some of the attitudes and values of a peasant society remained as a residual way of being, even within the changed circumstances of a workforce working almost exclusively for wages.
It is a society that has been ripped apart, taken from being an undeveloped agricultural peasant society to being a heavily-industrialised, immensely divided Frankenstein incorporating capitalism and one-party communism.
This article is about the interactions between a public policy of land restitution under the Transitional Justice paradigm, and local discourses that represent other paradigms of social relationships: the gender regime of traditional peasant society; the notions of truth and justice held by victims of conflict; the ideas of productive competitiveness at the core of the rural development model.
Ultimately, the Xhosa wars led to the destruction of this autonomous, relatively wealthy peasant society. However, the main forces behind the destruction of the Kat River Settlement were the racism and short-term economic interests of the East Cape British settlers.
In the mid 19th century, when it was almost a totally peasant society, they were either subjects of Russia or Austria - and quiet ones.
From it, I learned much about Thai peasant society and its political relevance to the rise and fall of Thailand's national governments during the last dozen years.