Sidney W Mintz’s ‘peasantry’ as a critique of capitalism: New evidence from Jamaica

Besson, Jean. 2018. Sidney W Mintz’s ‘peasantry’ as a critique of capitalism: New evidence from Jamaica. Critique of Anthropology, 38(4), pp. 443-460. ISSN 0308-275X [Article]

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A major theme in Sidney W Mintz’s pioneering work on Caribbean societies has been the significance of peasantries in the transformation of this region. After outlining Mintz’s perspective on Caribbean peasantries as a ‘resistant response’ to colonialism, plantations, slavery and indenture, this article highlights on-going peasantization in Jamaica, which was highly developed as a slave-plantation colony and where the post-colonial legacies of this history persist. Drawing on the author’s long-term fieldwork in the island, the article explores maroons, free villages and ‘squatters’ as modes of peasantization and discusses common land, family land and ‘captured’ land as forms of peasant landholding in the face of capitalist land monopolization by the agricultural, bauxite and tourist industries. In conclusion, the article explores how this new evidence from Jamaica reinforces, revises and extends Mintz’s work on Caribbean peasantries as a critique of capitalism.

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Caribbean peasantries, Jamaica, maroons, free villages, squatters, common land, family land, captured land

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24 October 2018Published Online
1 December 2018Published

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01 Jul 2021 11:54

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01 Jul 2021 11:55

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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