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The Implications of Globalization and Environmental Changes for Smallholder Peasants: The Bangladesh Case Open Access


Other title
Climate Change
Smallholder Peasants
Agrarian Transformation
Peasant Dispossession
Accumulation by Dispossession
Technological Optimism
Commercialization of Agriculture
Partial Proletarianization
Neoliberal Agrarian Reforms
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Misra, Manoj
Supervisor and department
Mookerjea, Sourayan (Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Caine, Ken (Sociology)
Kapoor, Dip (Education Policy Studies)
Aitken, Rob (Political Science)
Taylor, Marcus (Global Development Studies)
Department of Sociology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The objective of this dissertation is to examine the socio-ecological implications of environmental changes and globalization for smallholder agrarian communities in Bangladesh. Drawing on concepts from agrarian political economy, Marxist geography and environmental sociology, this dissertation first outlines Bangladesh’s agrarian reform policies since the 1980s, and the resulting peculiarity of the country’s development trajectory. It investigates how the reforms have led to a paradoxical situation consisting of simultaneous proletarianization and an increasing number of households taking up smallholder farming. It demonstrates that the particular positioning of the state is central to understanding this paradox. This dissertation also analyzes the ostensibly disparate processes of mounting peasant indebtedness and the phenomenal rise of microfinance institutions in Bangladesh in light of the country’s broader agrarian context of agricultural commoditization, input subsidy reduction and a systematic lessening of the subsidized agricultural credit system. It argues that the spread of commercial microcredit is facilitating the process of peasant dispossession in the wake of neoliberal agrarian reforms in Bangladesh. Finally, this dissertation offers an in-depth analysis of how the intersection of markets, institutions and nature – both the immediate ecosystem and the broader climate system – shape peasant livelihoods in Bangladesh. By highlighting the adverse ecosystem effects of modern agriculture, this dissertation questions the merits of the country’s recent climate change and agricultural policies, which seek to scale up the use of bio-chemical agricultural technologies in an effort to minimize the impacts of climate change on agriculture. This dissertation advances our understanding of four different areas of study. First, it contributes to the literature on the agrarian question. Second, it enriches our understanding of rural financing and peasant indebtedness in the Global South. Third, it contributes to an emerging body of literature within the environmental sociology tradition, which seeks to analyze the combined impacts of economic development and environmental changes on resource-based communities. Fourth, this study makes an indirect contribution to the literature on Third World political ecology by highlighting how the interface between political economy and socio-ecological processes affect specific communities in developing economies.  
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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