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Tractors, power lines, and the Welfare State: The contradictions of Soviet development in Post-World War II Tajikistan


Kalinovsky, Artemy M (2015). Tractors, power lines, and the Welfare State: The contradictions of Soviet development in Post-World War II Tajikistan. Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques, 69(3):563-592.

Abstract

This article considers the Soviet campaign to transform the Tajik countryside by mechanizing agricultural production and bringing the welfare state to the villages in light of broader 20th century rural development efforts. It begins by examining the attempt to mechanize agriculture and electrify the Tajik countryside through the eyes of the officials charged with implementing these technologies. Problems with how these technologies were introduced meant that while cotton output expanded, it required increasing amount of labor. Turning to the problem of resettlement, the article emphasizes that resettlement was shaped by competition for labor between districts and farm managers. Increasingly, in the Brezhnev era, it also came to be seen as an easier way to fulfill the modernizing imperative and the commitments of the welfare state. Under pressure to ensure access to schools and medical services, officials found it more convenient to move villages from mountain areas to valleys where such services could be more easily provided. At the same time, the demand for agricultural labor stimulated a kind of “involution” in the countryside, where managers had to find ways to keep labor on the farm. To do so, they could offer cash rewards, building materials, and access to private land and fertilizer.

Abstract

This article considers the Soviet campaign to transform the Tajik countryside by mechanizing agricultural production and bringing the welfare state to the villages in light of broader 20th century rural development efforts. It begins by examining the attempt to mechanize agriculture and electrify the Tajik countryside through the eyes of the officials charged with implementing these technologies. Problems with how these technologies were introduced meant that while cotton output expanded, it required increasing amount of labor. Turning to the problem of resettlement, the article emphasizes that resettlement was shaped by competition for labor between districts and farm managers. Increasingly, in the Brezhnev era, it also came to be seen as an easier way to fulfill the modernizing imperative and the commitments of the welfare state. Under pressure to ensure access to schools and medical services, officials found it more convenient to move villages from mountain areas to valleys where such services could be more easily provided. At the same time, the demand for agricultural labor stimulated a kind of “involution” in the countryside, where managers had to find ways to keep labor on the farm. To do so, they could offer cash rewards, building materials, and access to private land and fertilizer.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:Journals > Asiatische Studien / Études Asiatiques > Archive > 69 (2015) > 3
Dewey Decimal Classification:Unspecified
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:23 Jan 2017 09:58
Last Modified:14 Feb 2018 11:31
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN:0004-4717
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/asia-2015-1008

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