19 Pages


WithEsther Kingston-Mann

This chapter suggests that rural women and village communities played a significant—and on occasion, a quite productive role—in the history of rural development. The chapter discusses a complex picture of the status of rural women before the advent of land rights revolution. It explains a shared assumption amongst development advocates that quite resembles Blackstone's argument for exclusionary land tenure systems. The chapter shows that privatization advocates frequently asserted that exclusive and personal rights to own land and other property represented the highest stage of economic freedom and the source of all other human liberties. The protests of rural men and women revealed a lasting concern to know how change might affect their access to land and their control over their own labour. Although not all land rights revolutions were totalitarian, all of them established laws that legitimized the appropriation of peasant-cultivated land and established new controls over peasant labour.