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Cotton, control, and continuity in disguise: The political economy of agrarian transformation in lowland Tajikistan

Irna Hofman defended her thesis on 10 January 2019.

I. Hofman
10 January 2019
Leiden Repository

What constitutes the political economy of agrarian transformation in post-socialist Tajikistan? How and to what extent does capital accumulation in the agrarian economy occur? These are the principal questions of this thesis, which is inspired by neo-Marxist theories on rural capital accumulation and extraction. Theoretically this thesis addresses property rights, the anthropology of debt, and the logic of cotton production in order to understand the continuity in agrarian production relations. Innovative in terms of its analyses, this thesis firstly not only focuses on domestic state-society relations, but also on the way in which foreign actors interact with the state. Secondly, unlike most studies informed by agrarian political economy that tend to pay little attention to nature and geography, this thesis explicitly looks at the way in which altitude, remoteness and crop specificities interact with the political economy. This thesis contends that sheer access to arable land in Tajikistan alone is no guarantee for rural well-being. Furthermore, this thesis maintains that Tajikistan’s pathway of agrarian change is characterised by a strong continuation in terms of relations of production. Rural dwellers continue to be tied to the land and are unable to build up an independent rural livelihood.

Promotor: Prof. dr. F.N. Pieke

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