Institutional Diversity and Capitalist Transformation in Rural Arunachal Pradesh

Date: Mar, 2009
ODID Working Paper No. 179
Author(s): Barbara Harriss-White, Deepak K Mishra, Vandana Upadhyay

This paper contributes a preliminary analysis of the process of capitalist transformation in Arunachal Pradesh, one of the least studied regions of India. Primarily based on information collected through a field survey in eleven villages, the paper seeks to explain the nature and implications of institutional unevenness in the development of capitalism. Institutional diversity is not simply mapped across space; it is also manifested in the simultaneous existence of market and non-market institutions across the means of production within the same village or spatial context. In addition there is a continuous and complex interaction among these institutions which both shapes and is shaped by this incipient capitalist transformation.

Against the near universal consensus of social theorists that non-market institutional forms and processes would decline with the expansion and consolidation of the capitalist economy, the evidence presented here suggests that institutional adaptation, continuity and hybridity are as much integral to the emergence of the market economy as are the processes of creation of new institutions and demise of others. There is no necessary correspondence between the emerging commercialisation of the different productive dimensions of the agrarian economy. These uneven processes of institutional diversity, hybridity and interdependence are deeply influenced by existing and emerging power relations. Primitive accumulation, which was thought to be an archaic feature of early capitalism, emerges as a continuing characteristic of the on-going agrarian and non-agrarian capitalist transformation.

ODID Author(s)