Peasant - Historiography


See also: Agrarianism

Since the literate classes have left the most records, and these tended to dismiss peasants as figures of coarse appetite and rustic comedy, the term "peasant" may have a pejorative rather than descriptive connotation in historical memory. Society was theorized as being organized into three "estates": those who work, those who pray, and those who fight. The Annales School of French historians emphasized the importance of peasants. Its leader Fernand Braudel devoted the first volume–called The Structures of Everyday Life–of his major work, Civilization and Capitalism 15th–18th Century to the largely silent and invisible world that existed below the market economy.

Other research in the field of peasant studies was promoted by Florian Znaniecki and Fei Xiaotong, and in the post-1945 studies of the "great tradition" and the "little tradition" in the work of Robert Redfield. In the 1960s, anthropologists and historians began to rethink the role of peasant revolt in world history and in their own disciplines. Peasant revolution was seen as a Third World response to capitalism and imperialism.

The anthropologist Eric Wolf, for instance, drew on the work of earlier scholars in the Marxist tradition such as Daniel Thorner, who saw the rural population as a key element in the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Wolf and a group of scholars criticized both Marx and the field of modernization theorists for treating peasants as lacking the ability to take action. James C. Scott's field observations in Malaysia convinced him that villagers were active participants in their local politics even though they were forced to use indirect methods. Many of these activist scholars looked back to the Peasant movement in India and to the theories of the revolution in China led by Mao Zedong starting in the 1920s. The anthropologist Myron Cohen, however, asked why the rural population in China were called "peasants" rather than "farmers", a distinction he called political rather than scientific. One important outlet for their scholarly work and theory was the Journal of Peasant Studies.

Read more about this topic:  Peasant

Other articles related to "historiography":

Historiography Of Switzerland
... The historiography of Switzerland is the study of the history of Switzerland ... Swiss historiography received substantial public attention in the 1990s, when controversy over Switzerland's conduct during World War II, triggered by a U.S ...
Critical Historiography
... Critical historiography approaches the history of art, literature or architecture from a critical theory perspective ... Critical historiography is used by various scholars in recent decades to emphasize the ambiguous relationship between the past and the writing of history ... A type of critical historiography can be seen, for example, in the work of Harold Bloom ...
Ancient Greek Poetry - The Hellenistic and Roman Periods - Historiography
... Timaeus was born in Sicily but spent most of his life in Athens ... His History, though lost, is significant because of its influence on Polybius ...
Robert Fruin - Biography
... Groen van Prinsterer had a style of historiography that was more poetic than Fruin thought appropriate ... defended the point of view that historians needed to be impartial in their historiography ... He helped introduce Ranke's ideas about historiography in the Netherlands and to spread his influence on Dutch historiography in the second half of the 19th century, giving the Dutch profession of ...
Atlantic History
... between nation states which traditionally determined the limits of older historiography should not be applied to such transnational phenomena as slavery ... and reorientation of traditional historiography dealing with the interaction between early modern Europeans and native peoples in the Atlantic sphere ... The organization of Atlantic History as a recognized area of historiography began in the 1980s under the impetus of American historians Bernard Bailyn of Harvard University and Jack P ...