From Imposition to Agonism: Voluntary Poverty Alleviation Resettlement in China

Dr Kate Gomersall1

1University Of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia


Implementation of voluntary Poverty Alleviation Resettlement (PAR) in China is a function of the democratic processes of village governance under the Organic Law of Villages Committees and Assemblies. Democratic governance infers liberal notions of free will, but in this context ‘free will’ is thought of multi-dimensionally and reflects the historical-geographical context of rural governance in China. Competing ideologies such as those associated with authoritarian socialism or Confucianism appear in dialectical tension with liberal governance, but these configure to shape resettlement decision making in rural villages. Analysis of the contingencies of local governance practices reveal a process of cultural hybridisation in which local government and village actors enact a strategy of struggle to configure a politics of place. In particular, villagers enact resistance to forms of domination through hybrid politics which is expressed as agonism and not the imposition of liberal rule on non-western countries.


Kate finished her PhD in human geography at the University of Melbourne in 2017 and is now a Research Fellow in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Melbourne. In her current project she is a gender and social science researcher on an ACIAR funded rural development project in Myanmar.

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