Geertz C. Agricultural involution: the processes of ecological change in Indonesia . Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, p. Agricultural Involution: the processes of ecological change in Indonesia, Berkeley and Los Angeles, California/London: University of California. Agricultural involution: the process of ecological change in Indonesia. by Geertz, Clifford. Publication date Topics Agriculture, Agricultura, Ecologie.

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This is his description of the process in Java where both the external economic demands inbolution the Dutch rulers and the internal pressures due to population growth led to intensification rather than change. Agricultural Involution is one of the earlier works of a very influential writer: What this amounted was increasing the labour intensity in the paddies, increasing output per area but not increasing output per head.

Clifford Geertz

Of Approximate Truths and Moral Judgments ” “. But this work is still necessary reading for anyone interested in Indonesian agriculture, as well as being a good introduction to the economic history of Indonesia. The geographical location of these different types is important. Geertz’s thesis is that this process was tied up with the development of sugar as a smallholder cash crop complementary with rice production.


Sawah is the dominant form zgricultural both Java and Bali where nearly three quarters of Indonesia’s population live and swidden more common in the less central regions.

Agricultural Involution (Clifford Geertz) – book review

This page was last edited on 3 Octoberat It principal thesis is that many centuries of intensifying wet-rice cultivation in Indonesia had produced greater social complexity without significant technological or political change, a agriculturzl Geertz terms “involution”. Swidden is also known as slash and burn and sawah is irrigated rice paddy. If nothing else, it will be remembered for the coining of the term “agricultural involution”.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Late in his career, Geertz reflected that the book had become an “orphan,” widely read and criticized without reference to his larger body of work. atricultural

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Agricultural Involution: The Processes of Ecological Change in Indonesia – Wikipedia

January External links: The Process of Ecological Change in Indonesia. The two dominant forms of agriculture are swidden and sawah.

This involved putting even more labour into paddy gesrtz cultivation, increasing per hectare output while maintaining per capita output. Written for a particular US-funded project on the local developments [1] and following the modernisation theory of Walt Whitman RostowGeertz examines in this book the agricultural system in Indonesia.


Critics have attacked Geertz’s ideas in a number of places, and some of his conclusions are now considered doubtful. Having looked at the agricultural system the book turns to an examination of the systems historical development. Agricultjral then looks at the historical development of Indonesian agriculture, and in particular the process of “agricultural involution”, where the Javanese economy, faced with external pressure from the economic demands of the Dutch colonial regime and internal pressure from rapidly increasing population, intensified existing forms of agriculture rather than changing.

Of particular note is Geertz’s discussion of what he famously describes as the process of involutino involution”.