By Isam al-Khafaji
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Extra resources for Tormented Births: Passages to Modernity in Europe and the Middle East
Perry Anderson has noted that “When the Roman legions had first encountered the Germanic tribes in the time of Caesar, they were settled agriculturalists, with a predominantly pastoral economy. A primitive communal mode of production prevailed among them. Private ownership of land was unknown, each year the leading men of a tribe would determine which part of the common soil was to be ploughed and would allocate sections of it to respective clans” (Anderson 1974a: 107). Even in a much more recent period, in eighteenth century Russia and Germany, the persistence of the mir and the mark respectively- both forms of communal land- is acknowledged by historians (Mandelbaum 1979: 522).
920 sq. kilometers. 26 50). But even in the nineteenth century, incursion and attacks by Arabian Peninsula tribes were frequent. Salih Haider succinctly described how the migration of the powerful Shammar tribe from Najd, in central Arabia, has tremendously altered the structure of Iraqi society in the first half of the nineteenth century. This wave of migrants eventually caused a huge turmoil in the economy and was manifested by the expulsion of other tribes’ peasants from land and the competition with other tribes on their graze lands.
Correlatively, the state could develop, as it ultimately did, as a competitor with the lords, largely to the extent to which it could establish rights to extract the surplus of peasant production ... ” Brenner 1985a: 55-6 Thus in France strong peasant property and the absolutist state developed in mutual dependence upon one another. The state increased its own power by virtue of its ability to get between the landlords and the peasants to ensure peasant freedom, hereditability and fixed rents, and thus to use peasant production, via nonparliamentary taxation, as the direct source of revenue for royal strength and autonomy (Ibid.
Tormented Births: Passages to Modernity in Europe and the Middle East by Isam al-Khafaji