Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Gomersall, K.
Imposition to agonism: Voluntary poverty alleviation resettlement in rural China (2020) Political Geography, 82, art. no. 102250.

DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102250

Abstract
Implementation of voluntary Poverty Alleviation Resettlement (PAR) in Shanxi Province, rural China is a function of the democratic processes of village governance under the Organic Law of Villages Committees and Assemblies. Villages consult with their constituent households on the decision to resettle and aspects of the process of rebuilding homes and livelihood adaptations. This article analyses the participatory process through an analytic of government that exposes the contingency of local governance as liberal techniques are negotiated amongst historical illiberal governance norms. Processes of subjection during resettlement decision making and implementation defy a liberal/illiberal binary as the effects of power during governance can have a duel nature. These effects produce dialectical tensions that the local Party-state draws on to smooth consent for their political economic goals. Villagers in response draw on multiple political and economic subjectivities to reposition themselves and contest intersubjective norms that define relations between governor and governed. Contestation is most aptly defined as agonism which represents the permanent provocation (Foucault, 1982) between liberal and illiberal governance and the potential for equitable resettlement outcomes. © 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Author Keywords
Agonism; China; Democratic governance; Dialectics; Governmentality; Resettlement

Index Keywords
local government, political economy, poverty alleviation, rural area; China, Shanxi

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