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Peasants and Peasantry

  • By: Raju J. Das
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Peasants are small agricultural producers, especially in less industrialized countries, who possess their own land and who use relatively simple equipment and family labor to produce mostly for their own consumption. All peasants are involved in markets, some much more than others. They live in small rural communities, although they often interact with towns, where they sell their products and buy what they need to farm and live.

Known collectively as the peasantry, peasants have existed for millennia as the majority of humankind until very recently. Peasants have lived in a large variety of historical and geographical contexts. Originally possessing land on which they supported themselves, peasants have frequently lost their land, water, and forests and have been forced to work as wage laborers. This process ...

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