The limits of maneuver: Caribbean states, small farmers and the capitalist world economy, 1940s-1995

Journal Article (Journal Article)

This paper offers a discussion of agricultural globalization by examining the state and agrarian strata in an old internationalized periphery, namely the Caribbean. Peripheralization, that is, global relations that lead to the marginalization of economies, will be historicized to show how states and people, products of internationalization, maneuver within its constraints and promises. To do this, I first trace the changing approach to Anglo-phone Caribbean states to their agricultural sectors. I show how these states while constrained and constituted by larger global processes, nonetheless seek to maneuver within these coordinates, principally by shaping and reshaping agrarian strata, members of whom are engaged in diverse and often overlapping froms of agricultural production. This is the tenor of agricultural policy in the region defining and reflecting relationships between state and agrarian strata. Thus, such policy emerges as a condition, reflection and outcome of the participation of states in old and new processes of globalization. Second, I focus on the simultaneous processes of disengagement and engagement of small farmers as they struggle to initiate 'independent' responses. these responses are witnessed in the spread of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) throughout the region, especially since the 1980s. Small farmers are involved in NGOs to resuscitate fragmented rural spaces of home and community, but also to escpae the taxing price of their participation in the world market. For states this means that even as they seek to manipulate agrarian structures they might really have little control over them or might sometimes undermine their own efforts to influence relations there. I use a historical interpretive approach, relying on primary data, eg, reports of agricultural ministries and agricultural censuses, personal observations and interviews to examine the experiences of Jamaica and the Windward Islands.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Crichlow, MA

Published Date

  • January 1, 1997

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 17 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 81 - 98

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1089-201X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1215/1089201X-17-1-81

Citation Source

  • Scopus