An Interview with Henry Bernstein

The editors of the Journal of Agrarian Change are pleased to present an interview with Henry Bernstein by Subir Sinha. Henry Bernstein is Emeritus Professor of Development Studies at SOAS University of London and one of the founding editors of the Journal of Agrarian Change. Subir Sinha is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Development Studies, SOAS University of London.

In this conversation, organised as a series of videos, Henry talks about a range of key issues in the field of agrarian political economy. He discusses the founding moment of the field of peasant studies, its legacy and its silences. Henry’s engagement with historical and contemporary capitalism is brought to light in his discussion of the ‘peasant problem’ in the Russian Revolution, of peasant populism and of questions of food. He also takes us through what informed his thinking on the category of petty commodity production and more recently, that of classes of labour. Finally, he comments on some recent developments in the field, such as the increased popularity of the category of primitive accumulation and the proliferation of agrarian questions, and points to new directions of research. Throughout, Henry reflects on the non-linearity of historical change, the significance of theoretically-informed empirical research and the influences on him of his intellectual peers such as Terry Byres, Jairus Banaji, Harriet Friedmann, Bridget O’Laughlin and Jan Douwe van der Ploeg, among others.

Watch the entire interview here: