Transformation of the Family Farm: The Case of Three South Korean Villages

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Seok, Hyun Ho

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Institute for Social Development and Policy Research, Center for Social Sciences, Seoul National University
Development and Society, Vol.27 No.1, pp. 33-47
Scholars have presented diverse views concerning changes in Korean family farms.

Marxian-oriented scholars insist either on the socioconomic differentiation or on the pauperization of peasants. Some of those who have observed the persistence of peasants explain it in relation to family cycle, as did Chayanov, while others project the disorganization of family farms due to off-farm migration. Still others have noted collective efforts to develop agriculture and commercial farming by the modernization of agricultural production. Longitudinal data obtained from a revisit survey offer rare opportunities to examine all of these propositions at once. Examination of these data shows that the theory of Marxian class differentiation does not hold, and that small family farms have survived. This is not because the necessary labor has been supplied along the family cycle but rather that out-migration helped ease the man-land pressure. On the other hand, out-migration resulted in a considerable decrease in the number of farm households, but it is unlikely that all family farms will disappear in near future. By illustrating elements of change that do not support the above propositions, we have demonstrated factors leading to the peasant-into-farmer development. These factors are population growth, man-land pressure, changes in landholdings and farming scale, in-and out-migration, maximization of family labor, government efforts to develop agriculture, mechanization of agricultural production, and commercialization of farm products.
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College of Social Sciences (사회과학대학)Institute for Social Development and Policy Research (사회발전연구소)Development and Society Development and Society Vol.27 No.1/2 (1998)
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