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Governing Agricultural Progress: A Genealogy of the Politics of Pest Control in Malaysia

  • Peter Triantafillou (a1)
    • Published online: 30 June 2001

In correlation to the expansion and intensification of capitalist forms of agricultural production in the Malay states during the end of the nineteenth century, the British Colonial administration articulated the need to systematize the policing of agricultural production with increasing strength. The economic prospects of feeding the world market's increasing demand for natural rubber, combined with the objective of decreasing the Malay states' dependence on import of basic staples (notably rice), were taken by the Colonial administration as indicators of an urgent need to spur on the progress of agricultural production. A revolution of agricultural practices, which would transform what was seen as the backward and inefficient techniques of the “native cultivators” into modern and progressive production forms based on scientific knowledge, could only take place, it was argued, by resorting to systematic government intervention.

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The writing of the present article was made possible by a grant from the Centre for Development Research, Denmark. The article is based on part of my Ph.D. dissertation “Governing Pests, Pesticides and Farmers in Malaysian Agriculture—A Genealogy of Modern Pest Control,” which was approved in June 1998 at the Institute for International Development Studies, Roskilde University, Denmark. I would like to thank Peter Gibbon, senior researcher at the Centre for Development Research, Afonso Moreira, Research Fellow at International Development Studies, and the anonymous reviewer of Comparative Studies in Society and History for critical and inspiring comments to the article.
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Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
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