Politically engaged, pluralist and internationalist: critical agrarian studies today

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Critical Agrarian Studies has three actual and aspirational interlocking features which together connect the worlds of academic research and practical politics: it is politically engaged, pluralist and internationalist. These features also defined the older generation of agrarian studies that gave birth to the Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS) 50 years ago, in 1973. Within a decade or so of the journal's inauguration, the agrarian world had been transformed radically amid neoliberal globalization. An altered world did not render agrarian studies less relevant; on the contrary, it has become even more so, but within a different context in which political engagement, pluralism and internationalism develop new meanings and manifest in new ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-489
Number of pages41
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Issue number2
Early online date17 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

The writing of this paper was supported by the European Research Council Advanced Grant (grant number 834006) through the research project RRUSHES5 (2019–2025). The original idea of this paper was brainstormed together with Marc Edelman and Ian Scoones who provided significant input in the content and direction taken in this article, and who provided very critical and constructive comments and suggestions on earlier drafts. More people offered critical reviews, thoughtful comments and helpful suggestions, including Cris Kay, Jacobo Grajales, Annie Shattuck, Meenakshi Nair Ambujam, Dani Andrade, Nguyet Dang Bao, Mads Barbesgaard, Natacha Bruna, Dani Calmon, Sergio Coronado, Zeynep Ceren Eren, Eric Gutierrez, Ruth Hall, Rahma Hassan, Ryan Isakson, Sai Sam Kham, Corinne Lamain, Phil McMichael, Melek Mutioglu Özkesen, Itayosara Rojas, Antonio Roman-Alcala, Sergio Sauer, Yukari Sekine, Amod Shah, Henry Veltmeyer, Chunyu Wang and Yunan Xu. Their comments and feedback have been extremely helpful in improving the level of clarity of my ideas, for which I am very grateful. Special thanks to Jackie Fernholz at Routledge for providing the 2012–2021 JPS statistics, and to Yunan Xu for providing technical support in constructing the figures. I am also very grateful to Paula Bownas for the excellent copyediting of the text that saved me from many awkward formulations and embarrassing grammatical mistakes. Finally, most of the ideas here about scholar-activism and Critical Agrarian Studies draw on my collaborative work, scholarly and political, with Jennifer C. Franco, spanning three decades, or since 1992. These comrades and colleagues have nothing to do with any mistakes that remain in the text.


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