Table of Contents

Rural Transformations and Development – China in Context

Rural Transformations and Development – China in Context

The Everyday Lives of Policies and People

Edited by Norman Long, Jingzhong Ye and Yihuan Wang

This unique book explores the varied perspectives on contemporary processes of rural transformation and policy intervention in China. The expert contributors combine a critical review of current theoretical viewpoints and global debates with a series of case studies that document the specificities of China’s pathways to change. Central issues focus on the dynamics of state–peasant encounters; the diversification of labour and livelihoods; out-migration and the blurring of rural and urban scenarios; the significance of issues of ‘value’ and ‘capital’ and their gender implications; land ownership and sustainable resource management; struggles between administrative cadres and local actors; and the dilemmas of ‘participatory’ development.

Chapter 3: Rural Livelihoods and Agrarian Change: Bringing Class Back in

Henry Bernstein

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian politics and policy, development studies, agricultural economics, asian development, development studies, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environment, agricultural economics, geography, human geography, politics and public policy, asian politics


Henry Bernstein INTRODUCTION This chapter proposes and illustrates an argument for bringing class back in to the analysis of rural poverty and its causes, with implications for development policy. For present purposes, development policy is understood broadly as intervention aiming (at least rhetorically) to achieve advances in agricultural production, more secure livelihoods and greater welfare in the countryside. The argument hinges on seven theses about agrarian change in the contemporary world that aim to identify some of the class dynamics that underlie the issues that development policies address in different ways, more or less directly, coherently and plausibly. The conditions of development policy are themselves partly shaped by the effects of past policies, including their unintended consequences which may outweigh the realisation of their intended objectives (and typically do?).1 The seven theses are generated from within materialist political economy. Adapting the ‘mission statement’ of the Journal of Agrarian Change, I understand political economy as ‘investigation of the social relations and dynamics of production and reproduction, property and power’. The classic questions of political economy that address the social relations of production and reproduction are: Who owns what? (Social relations of different ‘property’ regimes)2 Who does what? (Social divisions of labour) Who gets what? (Social divisions/distribution of income) What do they do with it, and how? (Social relations of consumption, reproduction, accumulation). The sites and scales of application of these questions extend from households to ‘communities’ to regional as well as national and global economic formations. In circumstances of...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information