When I hear the word “peasant”, I imagine a serf or other person working the land in a feudal society. I have seen/heard it used for people in the modern era as well, but it seems to be exclusively used by English speakers in a manner looking outward. Namely, I have never seen the word applied to a British or North American farmer or agricultural worker, other than in a derogatory context. I know that in Communist countries, peasants, along with laborers, are considered (in theory) to be part of the “ruling” or “privileged” class. The first time I heard the word used for someone not in a feudal context was circa 1990, shortly after Communism had fallen in much of Europe, and the word was applied by a journalist to some Polish peasants shown in a news report. Now, over 30 years after the fall of Communism, would this same usage be considered derogatory?
In short, is it appropriate to call anyone living/working in an agricultural community today a peasant, and if so, where in the world are there peasants and where are there none?