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A broad concept denoting local, mostly subsistence-based rural communities, which have marginal contact with the larger society (the state, the world market), but are still influenced by it in restricted, but often essential ways. Peasant communities lead a semi-autonomous, semi-dependent existence. They are self-sufficient small-scale farmers or fishers, who sell some products on the market (or pay taxes or other dues to the state or landowners). They enact local political (Bailey: parapolitical) conflicts, which affect and are affected by national and global decisions. They may also have local religious or ethnic affiliations, which separate them from society at large. The study of peasants started in Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean and Latin America. Pioneering work was done by the so-called Chicago School sociologists and anthropologists (the cooperation between William Thomas and Florian Znaniecki on the Polish peasantry took place in the late 1890's and early 1900's). Later, the tradition was carried on by the Chicago anthropologist Robert Redfield, who worked in Latin America, within a Benedictian, culturalist framework. Later, a materialist tradition of peasant studies was initiated by Julian Steward. In the 1960's and 70's, neo-Marxian approaches to peasant studies achieved prominence; and feminists, emphasizing the role of women, particularly in connection with migration studies, also played a major role. Peasant studies also played a major role among Indianists, where they tended to overlap with studies of caste. (See also tribe, scale; Chayanov, Alexander)