This dissertation analyzes important changes occurring in a remote Haitian village, which I call Malfini. This case study illustrates current problems facing the Haitian peasantry, focusing on the political relationships that are at the heart of these problems. The three changes are an increased economic stratification among peasant farmers, an increased use of wage work instead of traditional labor organization and a rapidly disappearing environmental base due to erosion and loss of soil fertility. Malfini is located on the margins of the last remaining rainforest in Haiti, and continued environmental degradation will result in a severe loss of Haiti’s biodiversity.
This dissertation develops a political ecology of suburban peasants to describe the lives of Haitian farmers residing in a neighborhood on the margins of Port-au-Prince. The category of suburban peasants has been well described for Chinese small-scale farmers but has yet to be applied elsewhere as an analytic category.