Rahul Mahajan rahul at peaches.ph.utexas.edu
Wed May 29 22:34:26 MDT 1996


The tributary society classification is fine as far as it goes, but
obviously every explanatory scheme which includes all
pre-industrial-capitalist societies is not going to be of much help in
understanding the differences in their subsequent evolutions. The question
about feudalism is not theological at all. First, when it is rescued, like
fascism, from being used merely as a term of abuse, it becomes far more
analytically useful. Second, the point is to understand the very different
development of Third World countries, and the well-understood stories of
colonialism and neo-colonialism are only half the story. The indigenous
organization of society, and how that has shaped native political movements
and affected the logic of capitalist development (in such a different way
than in the West) is the question that need serious analysis, and the
starting point is not to use categories that were evolved because they fit
the European reality so well, but to find those that fit other realities.


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