10. Joan Martínez Alier The interview was conducted at the Hotel Majestic in Barcelona, Spain, 10 July, 2007 After being at the University of Barcelona, you spent a long time in the 1960s and 1970s at Oxford University before you returned to finish your PhD in Barcelona. What did you study at Oxford, and how did it influence your work? I went there because I got a scholarship. During the time that I was there I had an opportunity to write two books. The first book was on laborers and landowners in southern Spain (1971). It was about conflicts in Andalusia and problems of land tenure and land reform. It looked at unemployment and the theory of sharecropping, and the relationship between the land tenure system and the productivity of labor. I pictured sharecropping as a type of piecework system. I am still quite proud of my work on sharecropping. This was in the mid- and late 1960s, and there was still a lot of political tension then. Half the book deals with issues of fear and repression in Andalusia under Franco, although people were leaving the countryside because of economic growth. I learned a lot about the history of Spain when I was doing fieldwork in Andalusia. I remember at the age of 21 staying up all night reading Hugh Thomas’s book on the Spanish Civil War (1961). Before then I knew nothing about it. The second book (1977a) was on sugar cane plantations in Cuba, and on...
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