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Title: Colonial state, agricultural knowledge transfers and indigenous response : Bengal presidency 1870-1930
Author: Ghosh, Sanjukta
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 1158
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2010
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The thesis is a study of the formation and dissemination of agricultural knowledge in colonial society, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Bengal Presidency, with reference to developments in India as a whole. The theme provides us with a historical perspective of the ways in which notions of 'development' or 'improvement' as a scientific or economic goal were conceptualised for developing countries. The thesis is divided into six chapters based on the following main themes: (a) An analysis of the different levels of British bureaucratic intervention in the scientific process of codifying agriculture through gathering information about India's economy and society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Between 1870 and 1910, the colonial state initiated scholarly writing and research, statistical compilations, accounts of revenue and agricultural surveys contributing to a distinct form of colonial discourse on development and progress. (b) The formation of institutions and agencies which established parallel notions about 'improvement' on land in theory and practice: agricultural experiments in 'experimental farms', agricultural stations and government estates expanded the scope of state intervention in agricultural improvement. Knowledge about land and its relationship with cultivators was gradually perceived outside the bureaucratic conventions governing land-owning, rent and revenue interests. (c) The roles of a diverse range of individuals and indigenous agencies including agricultural associations, educational institutions, literary publications and fairs that helped to disseminate knowledge gathered, and a variety of experiments in crops, use of seeds and implements. These agencies generated public debates which revealed discrepancies between colonial and indigenous attitudes towards scientific agriculture. (d) The impact of importation and co-optation of scientific knowledge in rural society, including indigenous response to changes in production methods and strategies towards greater market involvement. Based on an understanding that the colonial legacy of socio-economic management was not a monolithic force of change, the thesis analyses the indigenous context of knowledge formation, which argues for different meanings, forms, functions and purposes in agriculture.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available