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There has been considerable controversy amongst social and economic historians, anthropologists, economists, sociologists, political scientists and other specialists concerning the nature and structure of Latin American agrarian society. An increasing number of studies have come to challenge the traditionally accepted view that the backwardness of rural Latin America and its resistance to 'modernisation' are due to the persistence of feudal or non-feudal forms of social and economic organisation. Instead attention has shifted to an examination of the social and economic dislocations resulting from attempts to impose capitalist forms of agrarian enterprise on peasant or pre-capitalist societies. This book of essays by an international group of scholars represents a substantial empirical contribution to the ongoing debate. This book will be of interest not only to specialists in the field, but also to anyone wishing to understand the historical processes underlying contemporary Latin America's complex land tenure and rural employment problems.
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