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The Suzhi farmer: constructing and contesting farming subjectivities in Post-Socialist China

Chan, Kin Wing (Ray) and Enticott, Gareth 2019. The Suzhi farmer: constructing and contesting farming subjectivities in Post-Socialist China. Journal of Rural Studies 67 , pp. 69-78. 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2019.02.016
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Abstract

This paper analyses the use of the cultural convention of suzhi in attempts to improve biosecurity practices in the Chinese pig industry. Suzhi loosely refers to ‘quality’ and has been used to define the appropriate conduct of citizens during the era of market reforms. Like other forms of agricultural governmentality, suzhi provides a way of distinguishing ‘good farming’ and creating entrepreneurial subjectivities. However, in other policy areas, suzhi has been shown to marginalise the poor and reinforce social inequalities. This paper examines the extent to which discourses of suzhi in a biosecurity context contributes to the use of preventive animal health practices, amongst pig farmers in Chongming Island, Shanghai. Drawing on documentary evidence and interviews with 33 farm animal breeders and 3 pig veterinary surgeons, the paper examines how suzhi contributes to the creation of ‘good farming’ subjectivities in order to modernise the animal health practices of pig farmers. The paper shows how suzhi contributes to the valourisation and stigmatization of different pig farming subjectivities, suggesting that it reinforces existing socio-economic inequalities. Moreover, the paper describes the ways in which modes of conduct associated with suzhi are negotiated and challenged and reduced to a symbolic ‘cloak’ that disguises the reality of preventive animal health practices.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0743-0167
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 February 2019
Date of Acceptance: 15 February 2019
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2019 03:38
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/119676

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