Centrality of Agriculture

Centrality of Agriculture: Between Humankind and the Rest of Nature

COLIN A.M. DUNCAN
Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 344
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130hdxw
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  • Book Info
    Centrality of Agriculture
    Book Description:

    Using ecological, historical, humanist, institutionalist, and Marxist methodologies, Duncan argues that the entire project of developing the theory of political economy has been seriously sidetracked by industrialism. Using England as a case study he shows that the relationship between modernity and agriculture need not be uncomfortable and suggests ways in which the original socialist project can be rejuvenated to make it both more feasible and more attractive.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6571-5
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Tables and Photographs
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  6. [Illustrations]
    (pp. xxi-2)
  7. 1 (INTRODUCTORY) AGRICULTURE AS THE PROBLEM: REPLACING THE ECONOMY IN NATURE AND IN SOCIETY
    (pp. 3-49)

    Since the time of Robert Owen (1771–1858) it has been a commonplace of social criticism radically to question the place of the economy in society.¹ Such questioning of course depended on what we so glibly call “the economy” having first been perceived as an Other, which in turn depended on its bulking ever larger in social life. It was not always thus. As Karl Polanyi has reminded us,² in Aristotle’s time the economy was the same size, so to speak, as a household (the word “economy” deriving from the ancient Greekoikos, meaning “house-hold,” andnomos, connoting regulation or...

  8. 2 (FABULAR) AGRICULTURE PRIVILEGED AND BENIGN: ENGLISH CAPITALISM IN ITS LIGHT-INDUSTRIAL PRIME
    (pp. 50-89)

    The place of agriculture in modern society has evinced, and continues to evince, great variety, both historically and geographically, and not through chance alone. In the last one hundred years deliberate integrations of agriculture with industry have been attempted along markedly divergent policy routes by sundry anxious nation-states. This empirical diversity has its counterpart in the rich variety of approaches apparent in social theory whenever the role of agriculture in “development” is addressed.¹ For example, even though the differences are obvious enough between English and American agriculture (with respect particularly to rural social structure and land-ownership patterns), it has long...

  9. 3 (CONTEMPORARY) AGRICULTURE DISPLACED AND DISARRAYED: THE INDUSTRIALIZING (WORLD) ECONOMY AS THE ONLY PERCEIVED CONTEXT FOR HUMAN ACTIVITY IN THIS CENTURY
    (pp. 90-140)

    How did the modern world get from a state of fascination with the once-pre-eminent English model with its ecologically benign economic activity to the present predicament characterized by chronic environmental degradation? This is an involved question the formulation of which depends on the special interpretation of the environmental significance of the English trajectory advanced in the previous chapter. It is also a question that no single person could answer fully because there are so many component themes. Here no attempt will be made to outline the full story of industrialism, for example.¹ This chapter is restricted to explaining the current...

  10. 4 (UTOPIAN) AGRICULTURAL BIOCONTEXTS FOR FUTURE PERSONS: POSSIBLE FORMS FOR COMMUNITIES SECURELY PLACED IN NATURE
    (pp. 141-184)

    I shall begin by summarizing the argument of this book so far. In the first chapter I suggested that there has been an entire dimension missing in the literature of social criticism. I then reviewed in brief the early history of our relations with our environment in the light of ecological theory as applied to agriculture and raised the implications of industrial production. The conclusion emerged that any future society hoping to achieve a sustainable relation with nature must make agriculture thetypeand controller of its productive economic activities. My particular concern, however, was the implications of this for...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 185-228)
  12. References
    (pp. 229-238)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 239-268)
  14. Index
    (pp. 269-286)