Transitions: Methods, Theory, Politics

Methods, Theory, Politics


The focus of this volume is on political discourse about the pattern and desirability of economic development, and how/why historical interpretations of social phenomena connected to this systemic process alter. It is a trajectory pursued here with reference to the materialism of Marxism, via the mid-nineteenth century ideas about race, through the development decade, the ‘cultural turn’, debates about modes of production and their respective labour regimes, culminating in the role played by immigration before and after the Brexit referendum. Also examined is the trajectory followed by travel writing, and how many of its core assumptions overlap with those made in the social sciences and development studies. The object is to account for the way concepts informing these trajectories do or do not alter.

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Tom Brass (DPhil 1982) formerly lectured in the SPS Faculty at Cambridge University and directed studies for Queens’ College. He edited The Journal of Peasant Studies for almost two decades, and has published extensively on agrarian issues and rural labour relations, including Marxism Missing, Missing Marxism (Brill, 2021).

List of Figures and Tables

Introduction (Steps Forward or Backwards?)
  Reified Notions, Fantasmic Representations?

  Transition, Critique, Silence

  Marxist Methodology?

  A Lesser Status and a Distant Place?

  A Distant Place as a Greater Status


part 1
Travelling On
1Racisms (Home and Away)
 Introduction: A Place in the World

 Blood of the Founders

 The Good Things of This World

 Music, Speech, Passion

 A Faint Uneasy Movement

 They Are Our Brothers

 One’s Own Free Will

 To See with Distorted Vision

 Avoiding the Question

 Samuel Smiles Revisited

 A Dearth of Workers

 Steady Work, Job Security


2Anti-capitalisms (Lessons Unlearned by Postmodernists)
 Introduction: The Anti-capitalism of Pro-slavery Discourse

 For the Mutual Benefit of Both

 Pro-slavery and/as (Conservative) Anti-capitalism

 Forging New Chains for Themselves

 All Capital Is Created by Labour

 (Pro-slavery) Contradictions, (Postmodern) Similarities

 Pro-slavery, Postmodernism, and Identity Politics

 Empowering Populism


3Transitions (Real and Imagined)
 Introduction: Simple Transitions?

 The Parting to Come?

 Trading Places

 Feudalism, but Not Yet …

 Free but Tied?

 Workers, or Tenants?

 Modes and Beams

 How Do We Know?

 Since the Beginning of the World


4Trajectories (to and from Unfreedom)
 Introduction: Quo Vadis, Domine?

 1950 to 1980

 1980 to 2000

 2000 to the Present

 Theory, Methods, Problems

 India: 18th Century Onwards

 India: 1960s Onwards

 UK: 2015 Onwards


part 2
On Travel
5Travellers, or Tourists? (Journeys Outside Europe)
 Introduction: An Instinctive Simplicity, a Thoughtless Idealism

 Hello, I Must Be Going

 Tourists Who Are Not Tourists

 The Ruin(s) of Time, the Time of Ruin(s)

 Is Your Journey Really Necessary?

 Traveller’s Tales

 Ragpickers of History

 Unevolved People

 Pristine Other, Untouched Land


6Tourists, or Travellers? (European Journeys)
 Introduction: Songs of Travel

 City and Countryside

 Class, Race, Blood

 Away from Home

 Always Defeated?

 Land, Politics, Fascism

 Peasants, Ancient and Modern


7Arrivals, Not Departures (on Never Leaving Venice)
 Introduction: Venice, Tourism and the Agrarian Myth

 The Ox Spoke

 It Is Not Easy to Do One’s Duty

 Loaded Pistols, Ominous Chatter

 Real and Loveable?

 A Dream Long Lost


8Other Worlds (Neo-populist Journeys)
 Introduction: Worlds of Difference?

 Chayanov: The Economic Case

 Chayanov: The Economic Case Against

 Chayanov: The Political Case Against

 Undiscovered Country?

 Journeys: Space, Time, Politics

 Valuable Warnings, Wholesome Reprimands


  Conclusion (Better Worlds?)


Author Index

Subject Index

Those with an interest in political economy and development studies, with particular reference to debates about the link between capitalism, travel, and culture.
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