Where the rubber meets the road shifting state-society relations and emerging resource frontiers in China’s southwest borderlands
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In this article, we examine the modern Chinese state’s efforts to consolidate control over land and people in its southwest borderlands via the development of rubber plantations. We examine these efforts via the lenses of the changes that ensued in the political, economic, and sociocultural life-worlds of certain indigenous Akha communities in post-1980s Yunnan, China, in conjunction with their transition from shifting rice to sedentary rubber cultivation. This livelihood shift, while initially a largely passive response on the part of Akha to the state, was, at later times, more actively driven by Akha as they sought to maintain some autonomy from the state. While this particular case is a fairly predictable outcome of broader sets of processes occurring in other resource frontiers in Asia and beyond, the Akha case is unique in highlighting the fact that resource frontiers are complex and dynamic spaces where one often encounters a diversity of distinct actors, objects, and practices at play that actively affect larger political systems and projects.
Asian borderlands, Crop boom, Resource frontiers, Sociocultural change, Southwest China, State-society relations
Wang, Jianhua and Morton, Micah F., "Where the rubber meets the road shifting state-society relations and emerging resource frontiers in China’s southwest borderlands" (2020). NIU Bibliography. 506.
Department of Anthropology