Dr. Jiang is an assistant professor of geography at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822.
POACHING STATE POLITICS IN SOCIALIST CHINA: UXIN JU'S GRASSLAND CAMPAIGN, 1958–1966*
Article first published online: 5 JAN 2012
2006 American Geographical Society
Volume 96, Issue 4, pages 633–656, October 2006
How to Cite
Jiang, H. (2006), POACHING STATE POLITICS IN SOCIALIST CHINA: UXIN JU'S GRASSLAND CAMPAIGN, 1958–1966. Geographical Review, 96: 633–656. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2006.tb00520.x
I am as grateful as ever for my intellectual mentors, Yi-Fu Tuan, Robert Sack, and Roger Kasperson, for their support over the years and for their comments on earlier versions of this article. Thanks also go to Matt Turner and Mona Domosh for helpful critiques, to George Johnson for introducing me to the theories of Michel de Certeau, and to Richard Hennessey for editorial assistance and moral support. During fieldwork, kind Mongolian informants offered their knowledge, time, and views/stories generously; they are too numerous to name here. Thoughtful suggestions from Editors Douglas Johnson and Viola Haarmann and constructive comments from anonymous reviewers have helped in important ways in sharpening the argument of this article.
- Issue published online: 5 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 5 JAN 2012
- grassland campaign;
- Inner Mongolia;
- state policies;
- Uxin Ju
ABSTRACT. This study explores the local experience of a state-initiated campaign to improve the grassland in Uxin Ju, a Mongolian community in northern China, from 1958 to 1966. The contrast between the local experience and the official representation reveals great discrepancies and attests to the ability of local people to utilize state policies to meet local needs, transforming socialist ideologies into local rationales. Applying Michel de Certeau's theory of everyday practice that sees book reading as poaching and the use/consumption of political and cultural discourses as a process of creative empowerment, I examine how the Mongols in Uxin Ju “poached” state politics to their own advantages and appropriated the grassland campaign in the making of the local landscape. This poaching further elucidates James Scott's concept of ideological resistance by focusing on the creative use of nonoppositional nature, which is an important way in which local people could express their agency in the oppressive regime of socialist China. This article calls attention to how nonsubversive co-optation of state policies can function as an expression of agency in the making of local human-environmental history, even on the part of individuals who are actively accommodating to the ideology of the dominant regime.