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Modes of Production in Southern India

Kathleen Gough
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 15, No. 5/7, Annual Number (Feb., 1980), pp. 337-339+341+343+345-347+349+351-353+355+357-359+361+363-364
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4368378
Page Count: 19
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Modes of Production in Southern India
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Abstract

This paper explores some sailent changes in the political economy of Thanjavur district, from about 850 A D to the present, with the aid of Marx's formulations of modes of production and of related concepts by other writers. In passing, and by way of contrast, it also considers the corresponding developments in the growth of production relations in Kerala between the ninth and the middle of the eighteenth centuries. The object of the paper is to illuminate a particular course of historical development, and to make certain points of wider theoretical interest. It argues that there was an Asiatic mode of production in the Hindu kingdoms of most of southern India prior to foreign conquest and that the Asiatic mode in Thanjavur, while conforming to Marx's model in fundamental respects, permitted greater social change and development of productive forces than Marx's model allows for. Marx's formulations of 'modes of productions', while brilliantly illuminating historical development of western Europe and the dynamics of capitalism, do not and were not intended to suffice for the theoretical discussion of the history of Asia or the world at large. What is attempted in this paper is not a theoretical framework for such a vast exercise; instead, the paper tries to place Marx's formulation of modes of production in a broader setting of cultural evolutionary theory, and use them to understand changing production relations in Southern India.

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