From dairy to coal: The making and unmaking of a Chinese resettlement village in the name of development

Authors: Xi Wang*, University of Colorado, Boulder
Topics: Development, Environmental Justice, China
Keywords: development, environmental justice, monopoly, capital, coal, agriculture
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 48
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Development is an anti-politics machine (Ferguson, 1990). By making the discourse and plans of development visible, the ”development” project performs highly-sensitive political operations that involves the entrenchment and expansion of state and capital powers under the guise of a neutral, technical solution. In this paper, I explore how the removal and resettlement of pastoralists from pasture lands in Inner Mongolia along with the letting go of former state sector workers into a poverty-alleviation village has performed the instrument effect of enabling the local and regional government to sidestep its obligations to these two groups under the guise of land conservation. Such a poverty alleviation and development village has also had institutional effects that have strengthened state and capital interests by incorporating these landless and jobless peoples first as cheap milk sources for the region’s burgeoning industrial diary sector, and then as the bearers of China’s overaccumulation problem by bearing the environmental fallout of its coal generation expansion.

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