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Proto-Industrialization has been defined as a transitional phase on the way to modern, factory industrialization, characterized by “the development of rural regions in which a large part of the population lived entirely or to a considerable extent from industrial mass production for inter-regional and international markets” (Kriedte, Medick, and Schlumbohm [KMS] 1981:6). This article will use protoindustrialization as a lens through which to reexamine a number of issues in early modern Japanese history, including the relationship between commercial agriculture and rural industry, the role of the state in economic development, and the economic geography of the late Tokugawa period. Perhaps most importantly, I hope by looking at proto-industrialization to reach a better understanding of the transition from the feudalism of the Tokugawa era to the capitalist development of the Meiji period and beyond.
This article examines different patterns of “cosmopolitan capitalism” in three paired localities in China and India: (1) Zhejiang/Gujarat, (2) Zhongguancun/Bangalore, and (3) Guangdong/Kerala. The paired cases illustrate the attentiveness of the local state to transnational society and present varied expressions of the local developmental impact of remittances and return migration. Analytically, this article departs from conventional usages of both state and society by focusing on the local state in combination with a less territorial conception of society. The rationale for this dual definitional stretch—both downwards (local state) and outwards (transnational society)—has an empirical basis. First, the local government represents the day-to-day point of contact with “the state” for most people. Second, limiting the scope of “society” to populations currently residing within national borders unnecessarily excludes temporary migrants and diasporic communities who continue to identify with a locality. Theoretically, this article extends Albert Hirschman's classic categorical troika of “exit, voice, and loyalty” to the literature on new transnationalism.
The challenge of Immanuel Wallerstein—to reconceive the history of South Asia since 1750 as part of the development of a capitalist world system—has yet to elicit an adequate response from South Asia's historians. While a few social scientists interested in the past have sought to apply his model, the majority of historians have either gone no further than to acknowledge the importance of bilateral relations with imperial Britain in the construction of modern South Asian society, or else—it would seem increasingly—have retreated behind the walls of the “indigenous,” the “local,” the “particular,” and, at times, the just plain “peculiar” in their interpretations of South Asia's modern experience. But few historians of imperial Britain see it as a completely freestanding and self-determining entity, able to direct its relationships with India or elsewhere in a manner unconstrained by developments in other areas of the world. And on closer examination, many of the most quintessentially South Asian institutions and structures, including a large number of those that twentieth century modernization theorists please to call “traditional,” can be seen to have been shaped by global forces.