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Toward a Reformulation of Boserup's Theory of Agricultural Change

B. A. Datoo
Economic Geography
Vol. 54, No. 2 (Apr., 1978), pp. 135-144
Published by: Clark University
DOI: 10.2307/142848
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/142848
Page Count: 10
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Toward a Reformulation of Boserup's Theory of Agricultural Change
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Abstract

The paper first summarizes Boserup's theory of agricultural change and dispels the misconceptions to which it has given rise. It then attempts to recast the theory in a systems framework and thereby to eliminate certain fundamental weaknesses in it. Specifically, the concept of a system's boundary leads to an analysis of the determinants of process in agricultural change, while that of the environment leads to consideration of constraints which circumscribe the development of agricultural systems. The mechanism of systems inertia allows a time-lag for stuctural changes to be made, whereas that of feedback provides control of the magnitude of total system change. It is concluded that only a comprehensive reformulation can help to improve the theory's power to explain agricultural intensity and enlarge its application to embrace preindustrial communities.

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