The Rise, Fall and Future of the Jamaican Peasantry
Journal of Peasant Studies
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This article examines the crisis of the Jamaican peasantry. Jamaica's peasants are struggling against pressures old and new, with the burden of their spatial inheritance magnified by a withering state, rising food imports following trade liberalisation, and oft-conflictive social relations. It begins by examining the historical formation of the peasantry after Emancipation, emphasising the unevenness of the landscape and the tensions between individualism and cooperation, before describing the protracted process of de-peasantisation, which has sped under structural adjustment reforms. Current conditions and future prospects are assessed through the insights and experiences of peasant farmers situated on the periphery of a plantation landscape. Ultimately, the future of peasant farming in Jamaica is seen to be bound up foremost in the struggle for land reform, and it is hoped that the current de-stabilisation of the plantation system will provide a new window for historic change.