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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

2 - Changing Configurations of Poverty in the Colonial Southeast and the Myth of Communalism


Chapter 1 illustrated the close imbrication of environmental, social, economic, and political factors in the history of one particular poverty crisis, a famine. This chapter seeks to broaden the perspective to the whole region, providing a baseline understanding of changes in the colonial period. This means covering a lot of ground: characterising the agricultural environment and strategies for its use, demographics, the region’s version of the colonial ‘cash crop revolution’, and its relations to the colonial centre. While a partly enumerative approach is unavoidable, the chapter aims to retain focus by giving particular attention to two issues that are especially important in relation to present-day discussions of causes of poverty and ways to counter it.