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Rahman, Atiur (1983) Differentiation of the peasantry in Bangladesh : An empirical study with micro level data. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Most studies in the Third World conclude that the magnitude of poverty and inequality amongst the majority of the rural population has increased. This is particularly emphasised for Bangladesh. But scholars differ in explaining the causes of this depressing trend. One group would attribute it to the natural/demographic factors; while others insist that inequality and poverty are manifestations of certain socioeconomic processes which cause the peasantry to disintegrate. The two divergent views strikingly resemble the famous debate on differentiation of the peasantry which took place in Russia in the late 19th and early 20th century between the Populists and Marxists. The present study makes an attempt to apply the principal hypotheses of that debate in the context of two villages in Bangladesh. Data generated through a prolonged, indepth survey into demographic and socio-economic aspects of households of these two villages have been used to test the hypotheses. The major findings of the study are as follows : i) The hypothesis that it is family size which determines the relative wealth of any household does not always hold good, ii) The 'social mobility' schema or the lack of class differential hypothesis does not always appear to be true. iii) Clearly a pattern of differentiation between owners and non-owners of material elements of production, including land, has emerged in rural Bangladesh, iv) The speed of this differentiation is higher in a village which has acquired some 'Green Revolution' technology, v) The old relations of production and exchange are changing along with the differentiation and a process of dispossession of the poor and enlargement of the rich holdings are gaining momentum. However, this 'proletarianisation' is, as yet, 'partial'. vi) The state has been actively negotiating on behalf of capital to subsume labour. The rich peasantry has clearly benefited from state intervention with respect to the peasantry. This has only accentuated the process of differentiation of the peasantry.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:02

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