Table of Contents

Rural Transformations and Development – China in Context

Rural Transformations and Development – China in Context

The Everyday Lives of Policies and People

Edited by Norman Long, Jingzhong Ye and Yihuan Wang

This unique book explores the varied perspectives on contemporary processes of rural transformation and policy intervention in China. The expert contributors combine a critical review of current theoretical viewpoints and global debates with a series of case studies that document the specificities of China’s pathways to change. Central issues focus on the dynamics of state–peasant encounters; the diversification of labour and livelihoods; out-migration and the blurring of rural and urban scenarios; the significance of issues of ‘value’ and ‘capital’ and their gender implications; land ownership and sustainable resource management; struggles between administrative cadres and local actors; and the dilemmas of ‘participatory’ development.

Chapter 14: ‘Accountability’ in Contemporary Rural China: Yu Lu Village Case Study

Solange Guo Chatelard

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian politics and policy, development studies, agricultural economics, asian development, development studies, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environment, agricultural economics, geography, human geography, politics and public policy, asian politics

Extract

Solange Guo Chatelard This chapter will present a theoretical argument on the increasingly popular concept of ‘accountability’, together with a specific local case study of development policy implementation in contemporary rural China. According to Isunza Vera, accountability has three primary functions: informative, explanatory and enforcing. In other words, accountability is a three-dimensional process whereby responsible political actors have to enumerate their actions, justify them, and finally be in a position where they may be sanctioned for these actions (Isunza Vera 2003). As a conventional concept developed and debated within western social sciences, accountability may be problematic as an effective analytical tool to understand contemporary Chinese social reality. This is primarily due to the implied semantic field of possible complementary concepts that can be associated with ‘accountability’ which do not exist per se in Chinese political culture (that is, sovereign citizenship, individual and collective ‘rights’, political transparency, political participation, rational contracts or agreements, and so on), although there have been efforts to translate these concepts into the modern Chinese language.1 Together with other buzzwords like ‘good governance’, ‘transparency’ and ‘civil society’, ‘accountability’ is often used in the discourse on policy implementation and development work by government officials, non-governmental officers (NGO) workers and development practitioners. Within these discourses of social policy and implementation, the more fundamental question of the philosophical and theoretical groundings of such a concept is usually ignored. This chapter does not deal in particular with the ‘western’ concept of accountability, or with its other correlating concepts, but it will...

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