The rise of the peasant land ownership as a driver of social-spatial differentiation in contemporary rural Veneto and French Flanders

Khorasani Zadeh H. The rise of the peasant land ownership as a driver of social-spatial differentiation in contemporary rural Veneto and French Flanders // The Russian Peasant Studies. 2023. V.8. №4. P. 83-101.

DOI: 10.22394/2500-1809-2023-8-4-83-101


The growth of peasant ownership in peasant societies is usually associated with a reduction in social hierarchies due to the improvement of social-economic conditions, decline of large-scale land ownership and development of small-scale agriculture. When qualifying such assertions, scholars have proved that the peasant ownership’s impact on the evolution of agriculture and social differentiation are highly variable depending on the social-historical contexts. The article aims at contributing to this debate by showing how the rise of peasant ownership may lead to contradictory dynamics in terms of social-spatial differentiation due to the so-called differentiated ‘relationship with land and kinship’ or ‘reproduction patterns’ of peasant families. To test this hypothesis, the paper examines two European rural areas located in Northern France and Veneto, focusing on the evolution of land ownership, tenancy, kinship and social-professional features in a sample of municipalities in these two areas from the mid-19th century to the end of the 20th century. In addition to the analysis of aggregated data at the municipal level, the author also considers the evolution of smaller areas in each municipality under study with the qualitative approach based on the ‘biography’ of some properties and holdings, individuals and families. The research relies on both public sources (population census, property cadasters, agrarian surveys, etc.) and private archives.


Ownership, tenancy, agricultural holdings, kinship, family, space, social reproduction, mapping, industrialization.

About the author

Hessam Khorasani Zadeh, PhD (History), Postdoc Fellow, University of Lille. Cité Scientifique Campus, TVES Laboratory, Paul Langevin Avenue, 59655 Villeneuve d'Ascq, France.
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


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