- Learning to live with pollution: the making of environmental subjects in a Chinese industrialized village
- China Journal
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Interfacultary Research Institutes
Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics (ACLE)
The Netherlands China Law Centre (NCLC)
It is often assumed that, when citizens do not oppose pollution, it is due to their ignorance of its effects or to structural barriers to change. This article argues that a sense that pollution is inevitable is also a major obstacle. We outline the gradual formation of environmental subjects who have learnt to value their environment in ways consonant with the seemingly inevitable presence of pollution. We argue that perceptions of inevitability were produced by: (1) the subordination of villagers to their leaders and the dependence of both on local industries; (2) experiences with protests; and (3) the framing of the exploitation of local resources as part of a broader national project of development. This study sheds light on the study of environmental protests in China by illustrating how parameters for contention come into being and how they are intertwined with the governance of the village and of the environment.
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