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This book takes readers on a journey through the evolution of agricultural communities in southern India, from their historical roots to the recent global neo-liberal era. It offers insights into a unique combination of themes, with a particular focus on agrarian change and urbanisation, specifically in the state of Karnataka where both aspects are significant and co-exist.

Based on case studies from Karnataka in South India, the book presents a regional yet integrated multi-disciplinary framework for analysing the persistence, resilience and future of small farmer units. In doing so, it charts possible futures for small farm holdings and identifies means of integrating their progress and sustainability alongside that of the rest of the economy. Further, it provides arguments for the relevance of small holdings in connection with sustainable livelihoods and welfare at the grass roots, while also catering to the welfare needs of society at the macro level.

The book makes a valuable contribution to the scholarship of agrarian as well as peri-urban transdisciplinary literature. For agrarian academics, students and the teaching community, the book’s broad and topical coverage make it a valuable resource. For development practitioners and for those working on issues related to urbanisation, urban peripheries and the rural–urban interface, this book offers a new perspective that considers the primary sector on par with the secondary and tertiary. It also offers an insightful guide for policymakers and non-government organisations working in this area.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Contemporary Agrarian Questions—An Introduction

Abstract
‘Peasant’ has been a favourite, if not romantic, topic of academic explorations. The boundaries that peasantry shared with others in society were stark and amenable to dichotomous treatments of deprivation and exploitation. Closely intertwined, nature and peasant were both exploited by landlords and industries. Surging economies distanced themselves from the primary sector in favour of propelling further growth while inflicting considerable social and ecological externalities on nature and the peasant alike. The accumulation of these conflicts in production landscapes created vast inequalities in outcomes, agency and voice, that often resulted in violent unrests. Thus, questions of justice, equality, dignity and human rights have been the subject of agrarian literature for a long time. As ‘peasant’ in its pure old-world imagery began to fade away, a more complex entity started emerging—the smallholder family farm. While other rural occupations like weaving, carpentry, leather and metalworks, backyard poultry, folk art, etc., disappeared almost entirely from the rural livelihood basket due to falling demand and competition from mass producing industries, crop cultivation and dairying survived as the last bastions of small-scale household production, coexisting with new non-farm activities.
Seema Purushothaman, Sheetal Patil

Chapter 2. Family Farms in Agrarian Literature—A Critique

Abstract
This chapter presents glimpses of the treatment of smallholders in noted agrarian literature. As the notion of the smallholder is multi-dimensional, multi-scalar and also multi-regional, the volume of published work is extensive. Consequently, categorising this body of work is challenging. Yet, we have tried to organise relevant and well known studies in a manner that will be useful while reading the rest of the book. This chapter will uncover the ecological and institutional gaps identified in the previous chapter while trying to unearth pertinent questions that remain unaddressed. This is a selective, chronological review of literature relevant to agrarian dynamics in the backdrop of urbanisation and is not intended to be exhaustive. Most relevant studies on peri-urban interface have been reviewed in our earlier work (Purushothaman et al. 2016). In the interest of brevity, studies relevant for selected peri-urban locations will be taken up during site-specific discussions in the later chapters.
Seema Purushothaman, Sheetal Patil

Chapter 3. Study Approach, Processes and Methods

Abstract
Recognising the gaps prevalent in the existing agrarian frameworks in general and the lack of focus on smallholders in particular, this study explores the dynamics of family farms in urbanising India, specifically in the southern State of Karnataka. The intention is to understand small farmer as an identity and small farming as a livelihood option, based on existing data and scholarship. In order to develop a framework around the life of small farmers beyond their modes of engagement with land and labour, a careful integration of multiple, diverse and changing dimensions is was felt needed. This integration needs alternative approaches so as to answer questions like how and when can agriculture be a sustainable option for the family while ensuring welfare needs of the society.
Seema Purushothaman, Sheetal Patil

Chapter 4. Agrarian Ecology and Society in the Study Regions: A Historical Perspective

Abstract
Agriculture being spatially and temporally sandwiched between natural landscapes and urban spaces, reflects the region’s nature-society dynamics at any point in time. The study sites mentioned in the previous chapter can be distinguished by their agro-ecology and socio-political history. Study villages in Bengaluru, Ramanagara and Mandya districts were part of the erstwhile kingdom of Mysore. They are located agro-climatically in the Southern and Eastern dry zones and agro-ecologically in the zone of Southern Maidan. Villages in Yadgir district lying in the semi-arid Deccan plateau of the north-eastern dry zone were part of Gulbarga in the princely State of Hyderabad. This chapter traces the linkages between the historical characteristics of agro-ecology and society and the recent pattern in urban–agrarian nexus in the two study regions around the cities of Mysore and Gulbarga.
Seema Purushothaman, Sheetal Patil

Chapter 5. Agriculture in the Era of Urbanisation

Abstract
Having discussed the agrarian society and ecology from a historical perspective in the previous chapter, we now examine the current interface of farming and urbanisation. Chapter 1 introduced Indian peasantry at the time of urbanisation. This chapter elaborates on that introduction, focusing on the state of Karnataka.
Seema Purushothaman, Sheetal Patil

Chapter 6. The City and the Peasant—Family Farms Around Bengaluru

Abstract
In any fast-growing economy, it is common to attribute agrarian opportunities to expanding and emerging cities as described in Satterthwaite et al. (2010). Nevertheless, the opportunities arising from urbanisation come along with huge demands placed on the production landscape. If the current pattern of urban consumption continues, food production should double by 2050. Despite niche innovations in urban farming (such as vertical farms, hydroponics, aeroponics, and polymer farming), the fast depleting rural agricultural landscapes will have to meet most of this overwhelming demand. Do our urbanised societies and economies realise the extent of their dependence on agrarian landscapes for safe and healthy food? Can this dependence help sustain their farmer producers?
Seema Purushothaman, Sheetal Patil

Chapter 7. Family Farms Around Ramanagara

Abstract
Cities are known for disparity in income, in contrast to disparity based on caste and land in rural villages. Disparity in any two or all the three axes (class-caste-land) may converge or combine with other axes of power and agency (political, educational or the environmental). Small towns are supposed to be less unequal spaces than big cities or rural villages and even better performing in terms of poverty reduction. However, small towns are varied in their character. Appearing non-descript, these administratively ‘urban’ areas could be formed around specific industries, educational or religious institutions.
Seema Purushothaman, Sheetal Patil

Chapter 8. Agricultural Urbanism—Family Farms Around Mandya

Abstract
Agrarian urbanism is intuitively comprised of economic and demographic dynamism around marketing as well as processing of agricultural products farmed in the vicinity. This caters to a stable yet dynamic intertwined rural–urban relationship. Agrarian urbanism here refers to a multi-activity, multi-product economy originating in the family farms of the region. Such towns of course will also be driven by the economic drivers of the twenty-first century, though their agrarian character continues to be discernible. Food grains, local fruits, plantation crops or farm animals could trigger slow and steady urbanism in the neighbourhood, depending on the scale of farming, transactions and turnover.
Seema Purushothaman, Sheetal Patil

Chapter 9. Family Farms in Yadgir District

Abstract
With reasonably accessible transportation, infrastructure and communication networks, hardly any area or community remains totally disconnected from the globalised urbanised world. However, regions distant from the centre of political and commercial power continue to be countrysides, unlike the immediate peripheries of metropolitan cities or intermediate towns. Away from the peripheries of mega cities and other urban areas, interior India reveals a distinct picture of ‘under-cultivated’ lands inhabited by ‘unemployed’ or under-employed poor. With few non-farm employment options and weak development indicators, towns in remote rural locations retain more of their rural nature and culture. They house small buildings that host mostly government agencies (panchayat office, hospital, post office, train and bus stations and market yards) and a few shops selling consumer goods and services like mobile phones or home appliances, apart from a few local markets for perishables, agricultural inputs and equipment. People and produce from the surrounding areas regularly pass through these nondescript towns.
Seema Purushothaman, Sheetal Patil

Chapter 10. Withering Family Farms

Abstract
Small and marginal farmers seem to be trapped in a precarious persistence between the city slums and empty villages. The study began by placing the precariousness of a smallholder family farm at the centre and considering various schools of thoughts on peasants, family farms and agriculturists, before using these terms interchangeably. This study steers away both from a rural productivity approach looking at the efficiency and scalability of smallholdings, as much as from an ethnographic narration of distress. It argues the need to find ways to sustain smallholders in an era of urbanisation. In that process, it illuminates why a socio-economic constituency with widespread presence and multiple nomenclature is invisible to the society. The motivation behind carrying out the study was the felt need to reverse an apparent invisibilisation of the smallholder constituency. In this effort, the study brings together the history of governance and agro-ecology, and the political-economic and socio-institutional angles associated with livelihood and distributional perspectives, using empirical observations from Karnataka State. Why, where and how of the study are detailed in the first five chapters of the book, before presenting the site-specific features of the urban–agrarian dynamics in Chaps. 69. This final chapter synthesises and highlights the essence of all previous chapters, though not in any sequential order of study sites.
Seema Purushothaman, Sheetal Patil

Backmatter

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