This two-part article surveys the origin, development, and current meaning of the 'agrarian question'. Part one of the survey explores the history of the agrarian question, elaborating its origin in the work of Marx, Engels, Kautsky, and Lenin, and its development in the work of Preobrazhensky, Dobb, Brenner, and others. Part two of the survey identifies seven current variants of the agrarian question and critically interrogates these variants in order to understand whether, and if so, how, the location of small-scale petty commodity food and farm production within contemporary capitalism has been reconfigured during the era of neoliberal globalisation. Together, the two parts of the survey argue that the agrarian question continues to offer a rigorously flexible framework by which to undertake a historically-informed and country-specific analysis of the material conditions governing rural production, reproduction, and the process of agrarian accumulation or its lack thereof, a process that can now be located within the law of value and market imperatives that operate on a world scale.

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The Journal of Peasant Studies

Akram-Lodhi, A.H, & Kay, C. (2010). Surveying the agrarian question (part 1): Unearthing foundations, exploring diversity. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 37(1), 177–202. doi:10.1080/03066150903498838