There has been a long overdue revival of interest recently amongst economic and development geographersin questions of geographical uneven development. On the one hand, this can be seen as a reaction to thepositive emphasis during the 1990s on the inclusion of firms, workers and regions in global value chains andproduction networks. On the other hand, there has been a growing awareness of the continuing importanceof agriculture and the question of agrarian change, not least after the development industry had rediscoveredsmallholders and peasants as targets of market-driven policy interventions. It is at the conjuncture of thesedevelopments that this virtual issue is situated, tracing these debates in Progress in Human Geography from thelate 1970s until today. The 13 articles selected for this virtual issue illustrate that the journal provided anintellectual home to key contributions to this debate. This introduction provides an overview of key themesemerging from the articles and highlights their main scholarly contributions.