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Agrarian Politics and Revolution

Leslie Anderson

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 1993, vol. 5, issue 4, 495-522

Abstract: This essay uses three crucial cases to test predictions made in Jeffery Paige's Agrarian Revolution. Relying upon structure to explain political outcome, Paige predicts that peasants will be political conservatives who engage in reformist politics but never radical action, much less revolution. The cases illustrate however, that peasant political behavior varies considerably, being reformist, radical, or revolutionary depending upon the perspectives of the actors and upon the role of the state. The data draw on information from cases in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Colombia. In each of these, respectively, peasants were reformist, revolutionary, or radical. Economic structure, recognizably similar across different political circumstances, determines the broad outlines of rural social relations but does not determine either political action or outcome. The former is more accurately determined by micro perspectives while the latter results from the interaction of political actors with the state.

Keywords: agrarian revolution; coffee; Colombia; Costa Rica; Nicaragua; Paige; peasants (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1993
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