From Heaven to Earth: Images and Experiences of Development in China

By Elisabeth Croll | Go to book overview

Chapter 4

Resource management

Land, service and enterprise

In the first years of reform, the balance of production responsibilities so favoured the peasant household that it had seemed that one of the most likely repercussions of reform in the countryside would be fragmentation of the village as its corporate identity, politics and productive capacity declined. Given the reduction in the political and economic role of the production team, brigade and commune, it had seemed likely that the peasant household would become more autonomous and less dependent on village facilities and village government. If the household no longer found it so necessary or so advantageous to focus on relations within the village collective in the search for raw materials and markets, then its attention would be directed towards the elaboration of its own networks of relations and alliances outside of the village. Indeed in the mid-1980s, I went so far as to write that the weakening of village organisation and the fragmentation of village cohesion might be designated one of the most significant changes occurring in China during the first reform years. If this seemed an appropriate conclusion to draw, even as late as 1987, it was shaken by later field studies which suggested that the village economy and polity have again been strengthened and that the balance of responsibilities between household and village are no longer so asymmetric. Increasingly in the village studies, the term ‘readjustment’ (tiaozheng) was used to refer to more recent changes in the distribution of economic and political responsibilities between household and village. If the process of reform originally encouraged household responsibilities, subsequent processes of modification reinvested responsibility in the village for the management and cultivation of the land, the provision of pre- and post-production services and enterprise development.


LAND MANAGEMENT

The relationship of peasant to land, be it in terms of ownership, management or cultivation, has long been a most important determinant of peasant livelihood and security and peasant representation of government. In peasant rebellions, revolution and reform, programmes of land reform,

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From Heaven to Earth: Images and Experiences of Development in China
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xvii
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Imaging Heaven 3
  • Part I - Reform: Household and Village 15
  • Chapter 2 - State Policies 17
  • Chapter 3 - Peasant Experiences 36
  • Part II - Readjustment: the Village 95
  • Chapter 4 - Resource Management 97
  • Chapter 5 - Information Networked 116
  • Chapter 6 - Income Generation 135
  • Part III - Readjustment: the Household 161
  • Chapter 7 - Aggregation 163
  • Chapter 8 - Continuity 181
  • Chapter 9 - Discontinuity 198
  • Conclusion 213
  • Chapter 10 - Living the Earth 215
  • Appendix 1 226
  • Appendix 2 292
  • Notes 299
  • Index 311
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