World agriculture is marked by extreme imbalances that are among the most durable economic legacies of European imperialism. Many of the world’s poorest countries in the tropics are net food importers despite having large shares of their labor force engaged in agriculture and large amounts of their best arable land devoted to agro-export commodities. This commodity dependence has deep roots in waves of dispossession, the establishment of plantations, and the subjugation of peasantries to increasing competitive pressures at the same time as they were progressively marginalized in landscapes. On the other hand, many of the world’s wealthiest countries, including Europe and other temperate regions with heavy European settlement, supply a large share of all agricultural exports despite having extremely small shares of their labor force engaged in...
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout
Purchases are for personal use onlyLearn about institutional subscriptions
Altieri, M. A., & Toledo, V. M. (2011). The agroecological revolution in Latin America: Rescuing nature, ensuring food sovereignty and empowering peasants. Journal of Peasant Studies, 38(3), 587–612.
Andrea, G., & Beckman, B. (1985). The wheat trap: Bread and underdevelopment in Nigeria. London: Zed Books.
Beckert, S. (2014). Empire of cotton: A new history of global capitalism. London: Penguin.
Beckford, G. L. (1972). Persistent poverty: Underdevelopment in plantation economies of the third world. New York: Oxford University.
Bernstein, H. (2014). Food sovereignty via the ‘peasant way’: A skeptical view. Journal of Peasant Studies, 41, 1031–1063.
Borras, S. M. (2008). Competing views and strategies on agrarian reform. In Volume I: International perspective; volume 2: Philippine perspective. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press.
Borras, S. M. (2019) Agrarian social movements: The absurdly difficult but not impossible agenda of defeating right-wing populism and exploring a socialist future. Journal of Agrarian Change, https://doi.org/10.1111/joac.12311.
Campesina, V. (2009). Small scale farmers are cooling down the earth. Jakarta: Via Campesina with GRAIN. Available at: https://viacampesina.org/downloads/pdf/en/EN-paper5.pdf.
Clark, B., & Foster, J. B. (2009). Ecological imperialism and the global metabolic rift: Unequal exchange and the guano/nitrates trade. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 50(3–4), 311–334.
Cochrane, W. W. (2003). The curse of American agricultural abundance: A sustainable solution. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Cronon, W. (1991). Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the great west. New York: WW Norton.
Crosby, A. (1972). The Colombian exchange: Biological and cultural consequences of 1492. Westport: Greenwood.
Crosby, A. W. (1986). Ecological imperialism: The biological expansion of Europe, 900–1900. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Davis, M. (2001). Late Victorian holocausts: El Niño famines and the making of the third world. London: Verso.
Davis, M. (2006). Planet of slums. London: Verso.
Edelman, M., & Borras, S. M. (2016). Political dynamics of transnational agrarian movements. Halifax: Fernwood.
Edelman, M., Weis, T., Baviskar, A., Borras, S. M., Holt-Giménez, E., Kandiyoti, D., & Wolford, W. (2014). Introduction: Critical perspectives on food sovereignty. Journal of Peasant Studies, 41, 911–931.
FAO. (1995). A synthesis report of the Africa Region: Women, agriculture and rural development. Prepared under the auspices of FAO’s Programme of assistance in support of rural women in preparation for the fourth world conference on women. FAO.
Friedmann, H. (1978). World market, state, and family farm: Social bases of household production in the era of wage labour. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 20(4), 545–586.
Friedmann, H. (1990). The origins of third world food dependence. In H. Bernstein, B. Crow, M. Mackintosh, & C. Martin (Eds.), The food question: Profits versus people (pp. 13–31). New York: Monthly Review Press.
Friedmann, H. (2004). Feeding the empire: The pathologies of globalized agriculture. In L. Panitch & C. Leys (Eds.), The empire reloaded: Socialist register (pp. 124–143). New York: Monthly Review Press.
Galeano, E. (1973). Open veins of Latin America: Five centuries of the pillage of a continent. New York: Monthly Review Press.
IPES-Food. (2017). Too big to feed: Exploring the impacts of mega-mergers, concentration, concentration of power in the agri-food sector. Report by the International Panel of Exports on Sustainable Food Systems. Available at http://www.ipes-food.org/images/Reports/Concentration_FullReport.pdf.
Klein, N. (2007). The shock doctrine: The rise of disaster capitalism. Toronto: Knopf.
Kloppenburg, J. (2004). First the seed: The political economy of plant biotechnology (2nd ed.). Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Leys, C. (1996). The rise and fall of development theory. London: James Currey.
Mazoyer, M., & Roudart, L. (2006). A history of world agriculture: From the Neolithic age to the current crisis. New York: Monthly Review Press.
Mintz, S. W. (1985). Sweetness and power: The place of sugar in modern history. New York: Viking.
Montgomery, D. (2007). Dirt: The collapse of civilizations. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Moore, J. W. (2015). Capitalism in the web of life. London: Verso.
Robbins, P. (2003). Stolen fruit: The tropical commodities disaster. London: Zed Books.
Rodney, W. (1982). How Europe underdeveloped Africa (pp. 205–281). Washington, DC: Howard University Press.
Smil, V. (2001). Enriching the earth: Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the transformation of food production. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
UNCTAD. (2017). The state of commodity dependence 2016. Geneva: UNCTAD.
Watts, M. J. (1983). Silent violence: Food, famine, and peasantry in northern Nigeria. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Weis, T. (2007). The global food economy: The Battle for the future of farming. London: Zed Books.
Weis, T. (2010). The accelerating biophysical contradictions of industrial capitalist agriculture. Journal of Agrarian Change, 10(3), 315–341.
Weis, T. (2013). The ecological Hoofprint: The global burden of industrial livestock. London: Zed Books.
White, B., Borras, S. M., Hall, R., Scoones, I., & Wolford, W. (2012). The new enclosures: Critical perspectives on corporate land deals. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 39(3–4), 619–647.
Wolf, E. (1966). Peasants. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
Wolf, E. (1969). Peasant wars of the twentieth century. New York: Harper and Row.
Wolf, E. (1982). Europe and the people without history. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Worster, D. (1990). Transformations of the earth: Toward an Agroecological perspective in history. Journal of American History, 76(4), 1087–1106.
Editors and Affiliations
© 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG
About this entry
Cite this entry
Weis, T. (2021). Agriculture from Imperialism to Neoliberalism. In: Ness, I., Cope, Z. (eds) The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-29901-9_57
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-030-29900-2
Online ISBN: 978-3-030-29901-9