Agrarian Marxism

Michael Levien, Michael Watts, Hairong Yan

Research output: Journal article publicationEditorial

71 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this special issue is to advance heterodox reconstructions of agrarian Marxism on the occasion of Marx's 200th birth anniversary. Scholarship on the origins of agrarian capitalism and the contrasts between agrarian and industrial capitalism have been a vital part of debates over and within Marxism for more than a century and have been central to the social scientific and historical understandings of the modern world system. At the same time, since the seminal debates associated with the ‘classical agrarian question,’ agrarian studies is marked by durable tensions and polarities in theoretical approach. While Marxists have long criticized ‘populists’ for ignoring capitalism and class, populists have charged Marxists with historical determinism. It is the premise of this special issue that much of this debate has reached something of an impasse. This is in part because new empirical work addressing the complex contemporary patterns and conjunctures of global agrarian capitalism, and because new and generative theoretical reconstructions of Marxism itself, offer exciting new horizons. Contributions to this special issue help point the way beyond this impasse, and illustrate that agrarian Marxism remains a dynamic theoretical program that offers powerful insights into agrarian change and politics in the twenty-first century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-883
Number of pages31
JournalJournal of Peasant Studies
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2018


  • Agrarian question
  • agrarian studies
  • Marxism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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