In recent years, the consensual view of rural society has been challenged by theorists identifying the conflict, exploitation, and power relations in rural society. Beyond this theoretical challenge, empirical studies of the sociology of agriculture have provided a fresh understanding of the dynamics of U.S. agriculture. This book contributes to the growing literature by providing a historical perspective. The contributors explore historical developments in U.S. agriculture within the context of the larger political economy. The book opens with a review of the similarities and differences between the critical rural sociology of today with that of the 1930s and moves on to a study of the accumulation process in U.S. agriculture. Other issues covered include the erosion of the southern class structure during and after the 1930s, the landed aristocracy's reassertion in the post-bellum south, changes in the class structure and locus of agriculture in the midwest, and historical developments in the labor process and in capitalist agriculture in California. The concluding chapter provides a framework for studying both the origins and the consequences of state agriculture policies.
1 Critical Rural Sociology of Yesterday and Today, 2 Capitalist Development in the United States: State, Accumulation, and Agricultural Production Systems, 3 The Underdevelopment of the South: State and Agriculture, 1865-1900, 4 Farmers' Movements and the Changing Structure of Agriculture, 5 Local State Structure and the Transformation of Southern Agriculture, 6 New Deal Farm Policy and Oklahoma Populism, 7 Class Relations and Class Structure in the Midwest, 8 Immigration Policy and Class Relations in California Agriculture, 9 Agriculture and the State: An Analytical Approach