Sharecropping (partnership agreement) implies a contractual agreement to combine productive resources and share production in agreed proportions. In stereotypical representations (to which novelists and other writers have perhaps contributed more than social scientists) those contracts are extremely uneven, allowing powerful landowners to derive great benefits from vulnerable exploiting peasants. Hence, Sharecroppers present themselves easily as a proletariat barely disguised in the Marxist tradition (Byres 1983), while the dominant bourgeois economy has historically regarded equity contracts as inefficient compared to alternative systems of fixed income and wage labor .
In the field of anthropology
In the field of anthropology, the castIt has provided the economic background to a considerable number of studies of peasant societies, especially in southern Europe, South America, and South Asia. However, comparatively few studies have placed the cast at the center of the investigation, and it is still unusual for the details of the contracts to be subjected to close scrutiny. For example, the pioneering work of S. Silverman and D. Kertzer in Italy pays as much attention to the co-residential group and other social factors as it does to the economic practices of sharecroppping. In this case, as elsewhere, foreign anthropologists can learn a great deal from historical research on sharecropping by indigenous scholars. There is room to combine resources analogously to distribution contracts,
Only in Robertson’s outstanding monograph (1987)The importance of a comparative anthropological approach to the distribution of own resources has been clearly argued. Drawing in part on Hill’s pioneering work in Ghana (eg 1963) and adding other African case studies, Robertson shows that the tremendous variation and flexibility of sharecropping farming practices is what he entrusts to farm households. . It persists in all parts of the world, under very different economic regimes, both socialist and capitalist and peasant, and can lead not only to high returns and innovation, but also to high rates of social mobility. These “revisionist” views should not blind us to the occurrence and persistence in many parts of the world in highly exploitative ways; but by opening the discussion with his African materials,