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Harda Mandi: experiencing change in an agricultural market in central India (1980-2010)

Krishnamurthy, M.; (2011) Harda Mandi: experiencing change in an agricultural market in central India (1980-2010). Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

Mandis or primary agricultural markets are old and ubiquitous institutions across many parts of the Indian economic landscape. Wherever they have formed, they tend to be dense sites of economic and political activity, connecting town and countryside, and local agricultural markets with larger circuits of commerce and consumption. Mandis are the most important site for the regulation of the critical "first transaction" between farmers and the buyers of their produce, vital points of interaction in complex and intricately intermediated markets for a range of agricultural commodities. Widely portrayed and perceived as entrenched, inefficient and unchanging, the last decade has seen growing calls for the dismantling of the mandi system as the key to the liberalisation and growth of Indian agriculture. Drawing on eighteen months of ethnographic fieldwork, this thesis centres on the everyday life, life histories, and relationships of Harda mandi, an agricultural market in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. It discovers a dynamic marketplace, constantly interacting with the changing contexts of agricultural production, regional political dynamics, technological developments, processes of reform, and the penetration and contraction of different forms of agro-commercial capital. Part One follows the mandi as a shifting site of regulation over the three decades from 1980 to 2010, as major state-led interventions in agricultural production and marketing interact with local agrarian contexts and political dynamics, producing a range of effects on the mandi, its spatial dimensions, material composition, forms of intermediation, and social relations. Part Two immerses itself in the seasonal dynamics of two contrasting commodity markets – soybean and wheat – analysing the diverse and differential effects on mandi actors, processes, and market management, as global movements and domestic policies are experienced in the market yard. Stepping back, it then traces critical transitions in mandi trade over the last twenty years, describing the dominance and decline of different transactional forms, their economic consequences, and the ethical questions that they raise for local actors and more distant policymakers.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Harda Mandi: experiencing change in an agricultural market in central India (1980-2010)
Language:English
Additional information:Permission for digitisation not received
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Social and Historical Sciences > Anthropology

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