Peasant Frontiers and the Enigma of Peasant Work


peasant, peasantries, peasant question, labor, subsistence


Peasant households produce most of the food in the world today, as they have for millennia. Concentrated in China and India, and spread across the Global South, the variegated persistence of differentiated peasantries and their labor remains one of the most fundamental questions of the 21st century. In this contribution, Eric Vanhaute argues that peasants have underwritten and fueled the expansion of civilizations, empires, states, and economies for the last ten millennia, embodying what he calls “peasant frontiers.†He reflects on how peasant work is foundational for resolving contemporary socio-ecological crises, including those related to capitalist industrial livestock production. The contribution is based on his new book, Peasants in World History, Routledge, 2021.
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