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This book illustrates the enduring relevance and vitality of the comparative political economy of development approach promoted among others by a group of social scientists in Oxford in the 1980s and 1990s. Contributors demonstrate the viability of this approach as researchers and academics become more convinced of the inadequacies of orthodox approaches to the understanding of development.
Detailed case material obtained from comparative field research in Africa and South Asia informs analyses of exploitation in agriculture; the dynamics of rural poverty; seasonality; the non farm economy; class formation; labour and unfreedom; the gendering of the labour force; small scale production and contract farming; social networks in industrial clusters; stigma and discrimination in the rural and urban economy and its politics. Reasoned policy suggestions are made and an analysis of the comparative political economy of development approach is applied to the situation of Africa and South Asia.
Aptly presenting the relation between theory and empirical material in a dynamic and interactive way, the book offers meaningful and powerful explanations of what is happening in the continent of Africa and the sub-continent of South Asia today. It will be of interest to researchers in the fields of development studies, rural sociology, political economy, policy and practice of development and Indian and African studies.
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Barbara Harriss-White is director of Oxford University’s new Contemporary South Asian Studies programme, and was formerly Director of the Department of International Development at Queen Elizabeth House. She has been studying India ever since driving there in 1969, focussing on the political economy of long term rural development.
Judith Heyer was formerly a Tutorial Fellow of Somerville College, and Lecturer in the Department of Economics, at Oxford University, before which she held posts at Nairobi University’s Institute for Development Studies, and Economics Department. She is now a Fellow Emeritus of Somerville College, Oxford. A specialist in rural development and in micro-economics, she has written and edited a number of books on rural and agricultural development in Kenya and Africa.
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