COVID-19: Updates on library services and operations.

The centrality of agriculture : between humankind and the rest of nature /
Colin A.M. Duncan.
Montreal ; Buffalo : McGill-Queen's University Press, c1996.
xx, 286 p., [5] p. of plates : ports. ; 24 cm.
More Details
Montreal ; Buffalo : McGill-Queen's University Press, c1996.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [239]-267) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1996-11-01:
This book, like one that Carl Becker once reviewed, was written "without fear and without research," and the result is far sadder. It has enormous breadth, though little depth, in its effort to recast the study of British and world agricultural history. The professed aim of this heroic call for the fusion of the literature about the subject, which the author claims has been neglected for the past two centuries, is to help policy makers save humankind from its folly in despoiling the planet and threatening all with catastrophe, a real and urgent concern. There is little mention of the work of agricultural economists, such scientists as Norman Borlaug, or the recent work of either British or other social scientists--Brinley Thomas, Gregory Clark, Peter Timmer, et al.--who are or were engaged in work on this vital subject. Instead, the author returns time and again to the work of Kozo Uno, Marx and Engels, etc. Lamentably, there are all too many errors of fact and of omission, so that the utility of this noble effort is just as questionable as the foundations on which it rests. M. Rothstein emeritus, University of California, Davis
Review Quotes
"The Centrality of Agriculture is a highly innovative piece of social criticism directed not only at more orthodox economists but also at the mainstream Marxist tradition. It offers intriguing new twists on older debates on agrarian capitalism and integrates various forms of research in the field in an exciting and knowledgeable fashion. This work will have considerable impact on the study of the environmental dimension in political economy." Andrew Cooper, Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo.
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 1996
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Main Description
Using ecological, historical, humanist, institutionalist, and Marxist methodologies, Duncan argues that the entire project of developing the theory of political economy has been seriously sidetracked by industrialism. Using England as a case study he shows that the relationship between modernity and agriculture need not be uncomfortable and suggests ways in which the original socialist project can be rejuvenated to make it both more feasible and more attractive. Duncan concludes that no sustainable human future can be conceived unless and until the centrality of agriculture is properly recognized and new economic institutions are developed that will encourage people to take care of their landscapes.
Table of Contents
Tables and Photographs
(Introductory) Agriculture as the Problem: Replacing the Economy in Nature and in Societyp. 3
(Preliminary) The Missing Environmental Dimension in Social Criticismp. 3
(Ecological and Historical) The Environmental Implications of Agriculture and the Preindustrial Phase of Their Historyp. 13
(Ecological and Contemporary) The Environmental Implications of Industry and Our Living Environment's Capacity for Responsep. 24
(Practical and Future-Oriented) Towards Agriculture as Our Environmental Monitor and the Centrepiece of a New Form of Polityp. 39
(Fabular) Agriculture Privileged and Benign: English Capitalism in its Light-Industrial Primep. 50
(Sociotheoretical) The Relevance of the English Case for Understanding the Place of Agriculture in Modern Societyp. 50
(Agronomic and Ecological) Classical English Farming Practices and Land Stewardshipp. 63
(Legal and Institutional) The Dynastic Device of Strict Settlementp. 75
(Interpretive) The Place of Agriculture in the Economy of Capitalist Englandp. 80
(Contemporary) Agriculture Displaced and Disarrayed: The Industrializing (World) Economy as the Only Perceived Context for Human Activity in this Centuryp. 90
(Historico-ideological) Free Trade and the Attack on the Landed Interest in Englandp. 90
(Historico-economic) The Rise and Fall of an Ordered World Market in Agricultural Produce and Their Manifold Effectsp. 99
(Technical) "Solving" Agriculture's Problems by Deliberately Subsuming It under Industryp. 114
(Critical) Agriculture and the Socialist Traditionp. 126
(Utopian) Agricultural Biocontexts for Future Persons: Possible Forms for Communities Securely Placed in Naturep. 141
(Philosophical) Types of Relations among Persons, Nature, and Use-Valuesp. 141
(Descriptive) Forms of the New Agriculture for Bioregionsp. 152
(Exploratory) Forms of Money and the Division of Labourp. 161
(Tentative) Pathways to Utopiap. 177
Notesp. 185
Referencesp. 229
Bibliographyp. 239
Indexp. 269
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem