Science and Society 61 (2):193 - 215 (1997)

The Great Irish Potato Famine should be understood as primarily the result of British colonialism. While the failure of successive crops resulted from a blight, the famine itself was the result of a historically created peasant dependence on the potato. This dependence was the direct result of the development of Ireland as a colonial holding'. The consequences of the Great Famine were the almost complete elimination of a lineage mode of production and an accelerated class differentiation of the peasantry. The sesquicentennial memorial of the Great Famine provides a good opportunity to clarify the politicaleconomic basis of this tragic event.
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