Bharadwaj-Wolf Prize The Journal of Peasant Studies: Critical Perspectives on Rural Politics and Development

The Journal of Peasant Studies

The Krishna Bharadwaj and Eric Wolf Prize is awarded biennially for an outstanding article published in The Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS) by a ‘young scholar’, defined as someone who is either a graduate student or who has held a PhD degree for no more than four years when the article was submitted to the journal. The Prize, which comes with an award of £1000, commemorates two long-standing and distinguished members of the JPS Editorial Advisory Board: the political economist Krishna Bharadwaj (1935–1992) and Eric Wolf (1923–1999).

JPS’ Krishna Bharadwaj and Eric Wolf Prize Committee is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2015–2016 Prize is Julia Chuang for her article 'Urbanization through dispossession: survival and stratification in China's new townships' which was published in Volume 42, Issue 2.

Chuang applies Arrighi's notion of 'accumulation without dispossession' (AWD) to designate production relations in contemporary China where workers are deployed in capitalist production without being separated from their familial subsistence holdings. She argues that the dynamic of this accumulative process is diametrically opposite to that of accumulation by dispossession (ABD) in the form of state-orchestrated land grabs. The opposed dynamics of these two forms of accumulation clash frontally in the arena of urban construction, which requires both inexpensive land grabbed from rural households and the cheap labour of workers whose inadequate wage earnings need to be subsidized by subsistence family farming in village holdings. The resultant consequences include forms of neoliberal growth such as tourism development and real estate speculation, social inequality, as well as the survival or downward mobility of dispossessed rural households, leading to the formation of new class alignments in contemporary China. While Chuang does not attempt to elaborate the notions of ABD and AWD theoretically, the outcomes of these two interactive processes are vividly illustrated with ethnographic observations from her fieldwork.

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Award-winning articles