Is Agrarian Resilience Limited to Agriculture? Investigating the “Farm” and “Non-Farm” Processes of Agriculture Resilience in the Rural

Publication Type:

Journal Articles


Ankita Rathi


Journal of Rural Studies (2020)



Agrarian resilience, Capital, Labour, Non-farm, Rural, urban


With 76% of the total main workforce in agriculture and more than 50% small and medium landowning households, the village provides an important case study for understanding agrarian resilience. The conceptualisation of resilience has been majorly confined to a system or a territorial boundary. Agrarian resilience too is commonly assumed to be driven by forces within the agriculture and the rural. i.e. land ownership remains constant, the labour of the peasantry is spatially limited to agriculture, the capital is generated within agriculture and the networks and skills of the peasantry is also confined to agriculture. This has underscored the role of factors and processes working outside the agriculture in conceptualising agrarian resilience. While the primacy of the agrarian processes cannot be denied, there are often processes working outside an agrarian system that can also enable resilience. i.e. the rural workforce can diversify its labour outside agriculture in the urban non-farm sector, capital can also be generated from sources outside the agriculture. In this context, using the case study of a village dominated by small and medium landowning households in the Patiala district of Punjab in India, the paper shows that resilience is driven by processes both within and outside agriculture.