PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2023, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (4): 754-765.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2023.04.011

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Transformation of relational space in targeted poverty alleviation from the perspective of actor network: A case study of Hebian Village, Mengla County, Yunnan Province

FAN Zhenjie1,2,3(), HE Dan1,2,3,*(), LI Xiaoyun4   

  1. 1. Center for Modern Chinese City Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062, China
    2. School of Urban & Regional Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    3. Research Center for China Administrative Division, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    4. College of Humanities and Development Studies, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100083, China
  • Received:2022-11-01 Revised:2023-01-05 Online:2023-04-28 Published:2023-04-27
  • Contact: HE Dan E-mail:zj_fan@126.com;dhe@re.ecnu.edu.cn
  • Supported by:
    National Nature Sciences Foundation of China(41471138)

Abstract:

The government, enterprises, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) participate actively to help poor rural households get rid of poverty in targeted poverty alleviation programs in China, which leads to the transformation of rural relational space. From the perspective of actor-network theory (ANT), this study focused on the case of targeted poverty alleviation at Hebian Village, Mengla County, Yunnan Province after 2015. Using participatory observation, semi-structured interview, and questionnaire survey methods, we collected first-hand material about the targeted poverty alleviation program in the village. Then we constructed a framework about spaces of prescription and spaces of negotiation to analyze the poverty alleviation effort that all actors were involved, which helped put forward the explanation of the transformation of relational space in ANT by finding that: 1) There were periodic features in the transformation of relational space at Hebian Village after the implementation of targeted poverty alleviation in 2015, including the previous relational space for poverty alleviation (with bigger space of prescription) and the following relational space for consolidating the work of poverty alleviation (with bigger space of negotiation). 2) The transformation of relational space within a certain stage means the process from the space of prescription to the space of negotiation, affected by the applied prescriptive actions. For example, it was easy to target the obligatory passage point (OPP) and promote the process in the previous relational space, because of the bigger space of prescription constructed by explicit policy goals such as "safe housing". 3) The transformation of relational space between stages means the process from the previous space of negotiation to the following space of prescription. Considering the high satisfaction of farmers and the new prescriptive actions, it was proved that there was a stable new space of prescription and the transformation of relational space after the village got out of poverty at the end of 2018. 4) The transformation of relational space had also contributed to the transformation of farmers, who had been mobilized in the improvement of the built environment in the previous relational space. As key actors in the following relational space, they were expected to play a bigger role to consolidate the work of poverty alleviation and revitalize the village. The transformation framework of relational space constructed in this paper has both theoretical value and practical meaning for analyzing and promoting the development of rural areas.

Key words: actor-network theory, targeted poverty alleviation, transformation of relational space, spaces of prescription, spaces of negotiation