Spatial Order and Its Transformations in an Anhui Village
The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Rural space in China has undergone profound reconfiguration and reconstruction since the reform era began in 1978. The latest round of change was initiated in 2006 when the central government launched a new policy known as "Building a New Socialist Countryside". This paper deals with the "spatialisation of government" in Xiaogang, a village which is located in the central eastern part of Anhui province and is reputedly the first in China to decollectivise and commence agriculture reform in 1978. Based on the village experience, the paper analyses two types of rural space and delineates the logic behind their transformation over the past two decades. The paper argues that while spatial transformation underpins many significant changes in rural social, economic and political structures, new forms of space continue to bolster collectivised rather than individualised forms of subjectivity. In addition, although political power has been devolved through the process of rural decollectivisation, state power remains manifest in the ongoing spatial remaking of the village built environment.