From risky to responsible: expert knowledge and the governing of community-led rural development

Download From risky to responsible: expert knowledge and the governing of community-led rural development

Post on 19-Oct-2016




3 download

Embed Size (px)


<ul><li><p>(200</p><p>t kur</p><p>irea</p><p>ensla</p><p>onash</p><p>tern</p><p>h mi</p><p>in tra</p><p>ernm</p><p>that such a view depoliticises the signicant role played by expertise in dening, governing and setting limits on community-led rural</p><p>restructuring, and policies based on economic efciency</p><p>development is widely regarded in the US, Europeand Australia as the key to improving the sustainability</p><p>autonomy and control, a number of scholars have</p><p>their own development, they must rst become en-meshed in a network of relations that assists them in</p><p>ARTICLE IN PRESSof disadvantaged regions and providing local people acquiring the capacities to govern themselves respon-sibly. Where previous research has explored the chan-ging, albeit still signicant, role of the state in suchforms of governance (see, for example, Goodwin, 1998;Marsden and Murdoch, 1998; Ward and McNicholas,</p><p>*Corresponding author. Fax: +61-7-33-65-1544.</p><p>E-mail address:</p><p>(L. Herbert-Cheshire).0743-0167/$ - se</p><p>doi:10.1016/j.jrhave progressively undermined the economic and socialbasis of these communities (e.g. Everitt and Annis, 1992;Hoggart et al., 1995; Tonts, 2000). As a consequence,it is feared that such communities no longer havethe capacities to effectively manage change and needto be assisted in reversing their fortunes to avert thenegative impacts of problems such as unemployment,poverty and poor health. Community-led rural</p><p>recently located community-led development as part ofa broader shift from government to governance. Here,new institutional and administrative arrangements andactors extending beyond formal state authorities play anincreasingly signicant role in ensuring that commu-nities have the capacities to take a more active role intheir development. This shift to governance implies thatin order for communities to successfully take charge ofempowered and responsible. Additionally, foregrounding the concept of risk enables a critical analysis of the power-knowledge</p><p>effects of expertise on rural development practice. Thus, we argue through the use of two case studies that while the use of various</p><p>forms of rural development expertise creates opportunities for some communities, it enhances inequality for others who either fail to</p><p>conform to the risk-minimising forms of conduct prescribed by experts, or who pursue alternative forms of development. The paper</p><p>concludes by considering the implications of these arguments for rural development policy and practice in Australia and in other</p><p>nations.</p><p>r 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.</p><p>1. Introduction</p><p>In recent years it has been recognised that many ruralcommunities in the advanced Western nations arefacing a crisis. Continued population decline, thewithdrawal of public and private services, agricultural</p><p>with the capacities to respond positively to change(e.g. Murray and Dunn, 1995; Ashby and Midmore,1996; Day, 1998; Marsden and Murdoch, 1998; Wardand McNicholas, 1998; Herbert-Cheshire, 2000; Sharpet al., 2002).While at face value such development increases localdevelopment. We suggest that the notion of risk provides a crucial focal point for exploring sociologically the expert knowledge,</p><p>categories and techniques through which communities are encouraged to think of and manage themselves as self-governing,Journal of Rural Studies 20</p><p>From risky to responsible: expercommunity-led r</p><p>Lynda Herbert-CheshaSchool of Social Science, University of Que</p><p>bSchool of Humanities, Communications and Social Sciences, M</p><p>Abstract</p><p>Rural development policy and practice in the advanced Wes</p><p>seek to manage risk and facilitate change at the local level wit</p><p>development strategies enable local people to have a greater say</p><p>a means of empowerment. Drawing upon the literature on gove front matter r 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.</p><p>urstud.2003.10.0064) 289302</p><p>nowledge and the governing ofal development,*, Vaughan Higginsb</p><p>nd, St Lucia, Brisbane, Qld. 4072, Australia</p><p>University, Gippsland Campus, Churchill, Vic. 3842, Australia</p><p>nations is based increasingly on community-led strategies that</p><p>nimal direct state intervention. It is widely assumed that such</p><p>nsforming the fortunes of their communities, and are therefore</p><p>entality, this paper argues with specic reference to Australia</p></li><li><p>(1996a) calls governing through community. With</p><p>ARTICLE IN PRESSrnalspecic reference to Australia, we demonstrate thecentral role of such expertise in dening, governing,and setting limits on, the capacities of rural communitiesto respond to change. In addition, we suggest that a keyeffect of expert knowledge is the production ofcategories of risk in which those communities thatfollow the prescribed paths of development are repre-sented as active, responsible and worthy of governmentfunding, while those who do not are marginalised andtargeted as risky and irresponsible.</p><p>2. Expertise, governance and community</p><p>According to Rose (1996a), the emergence of thecommunity as an object of knowledge in public policy,formal political discourse and development initiatives isindicative of a fundamental shift in the spatialisation ofgovernment. Unlike previous forms of government thatsought to achieve national security through state-basedsocialised forms of intervention and responsibility, thisnew type of rulegovernance through communityseeks to govern without governing society, to governthrough regulated choices made by discrete andautonomous actors (Rose, 1996a, p. 328). Suchgoverning through community is advanced liberal inthat it seeks to de-socialise and individualise risk, withsubjects encouraged to shape their lives according to amoral code of individual responsibility and communityobligation (Rose, 1996a, p. 347). Governing in anadvanced liberal way portends a fundamental rethinkingof citizenship as social responsibility through a criticismof the inefciencies and dangers of state involvement in1998; Herbert-Cheshire, 2000; Higgins, 2002), thepurpose of this paper is to consider other kinds ofrelations that may be established within the networks ofpower. Drawing upon the recent Foucaultian-inspiredliterature on governmentality, we argue in this paperthat the knowledge and techniques of expertise, and therelations of rule established between rural developmentexperts and local communities, are central to theoperation of these networks of governance. While theterm expert is a broad one, we focus specically on ruraldevelopment experts who promote active citizenship,entrepreneurship and capacity building as a way ofachieving change in declining rural communities. Thisform of expertise creates the discursive and technicalconditions through which communities are able toknow themselves, identify the problems they face,and take the proper steps to ensure sustained long-termdevelopment. Rather than being a radical force forsocial change, therefore, or even a neutral agent ofempowerment, these experts are a constitutive part ofcommunity-led development strategies, and what Rose</p><p>L. Herbert-Cheshire, V. Higgins / Jou290social and economic life. The ethical basis of advancedliberalism is that it is a part of the continuous businessof living to make adequate provision for the preserva-tion, reproduction and reconstruction of ones ownhuman capital (Gordon, 1991, p. 44). That is to say,instead of citizenship constituted in terms of socialobligations and collectivised risk, it becomes individua-lised based on ones capacities to conduct oneself in anentrepreneurial and responsible manner. Such entrepre-neurialism forms the basis for governing throughcommunity. The claimed passivity that socialised formsof government are said to foster is now to be overcomethrough residents taking a more active role in their self-governance. Thus, as Rose (1996a, p. 335) argues,[g]overnment through the activation of individualcommitments, energies and choices, through personalmorality within a community setting is counterposed tocentralizing, patronizing and disabling social govern-ment.As part of the shift from society to the community as</p><p>the object of rule, the knowledge of expertise becomescrucial in empowering people to manage their lives andadopting a prudent and calculative approach to self-governance. According to Rose and Miller (1992,p. 188), expertise translates the political concerns ofgovernmentefciency, industrial productivity, lawand order, normalityinto the politically neutraldiscourse of management, social science, accountingand so forth. Armed with techniques that promiseimproved nancial management, a better lifestyle,efcient work practices or, in the case of ruraldevelopment, empowerment to improve communityeconomic fortunes, these expert knowledges seek toenhance self-regulatory capacities and thereby aligncommunity preferences and choices with broaderpolitical objectives. Expertise is considered by manyrural development practitioners to be a crucial, yetlargely neutral, mechanism in enabling communitymembers to know their capabilities and developpositive entrepreneurial attitudes through which theyare able to build their leadership capacities, reducegovernment dependency and create sustainable devel-opment (e.g. Murray and Dunn, 1995). In contrast, weargue, using the analytical approach of governmentality,that expertise seeking to achieve change in an advancedliberal way acts as a key centre of calculation (Millerand Rose, 1990; see also Latour, 1990) in makingcommunity knowable, and in constituting the discur-sive framework through which communities can reecton their conduct and transform themselves into activeagents in their self-governance. As Rose (1996a, p. 348)notes in support of this point, empowerment isconcerned primarily with experts providing the tutelageand technical means for individuals to conductthemselves within particular cultural communities ofethics and lifestyle according to certain specied arts of</p><p>of Rural Studies 20 (2004) 289302active personal responsibility.</p></li><li><p>This denition suggests that risk is an effect of</p><p>can be identied between active citizens (capable of</p><p>ARTICLE IN PRESSrnal of Rural Studies 20 (2004) 289302 291Rationalities and technologies of rule represent thesubstance by which expert knowledge seeks toshape self-governing capacities in an advanced liberalway. Expertise is an essential element in linkingrationalities of rule to the technologies or technicalmeans for putting them into effect. Rationalities areconcerned with the proper ends, means and limits ofgovernment. Following the work of Foucault, rational-ities can be conceptualised as more or less systematicdiscursive means for organising social life on the basis ofknowledge deemed to be truthful (Rose, 1999, p. 28).Technologies comprise what Dean (1999a, p. 31)calls the technical means that enable rule to bepractically possible. They comprise a loose and shiftingset of techniques for transforming rationalities of ruleinto a technical means for shaping conduct at adistance. These technologies may be conceptualised ascomplex assemblages of knowledge, expertise, calcula-tion, representation and inscription that seek to shapeconduct in particular directions for particular purposes(Dean, 1996).While community-led development strategies seeking</p><p>to change attitudes can be conceptualised as anassemblage of rationalities and technologies for govern-ing in an advanced liberal way, it is also important toexamine how such a modality of rule achieves effects onrural development practice. We argue that the notion ofrisk provides a conceptually coherent means of analys-ing the productive consequences of expert knowledge.Risk represents a rapidly growing area of sociologicalinquiry that is no longer conned simply to environ-mental issues (see Lupton, 1998; Adam et al., 2000).While not discussed specically in the rural restructuringand development literature, it seems to us that commu-nity-led development is concerned fundamentally withrisk through forms of knowledge, practices and writingthat make sense of particular harms, dangers or threats(see Adam and Van Loon, 2000, p. 2). Rather thanexisting as an external and incalculable threat, asscholars such as Beck (1992) suggest, risk can better beunderstood, through the lens of governmentality, as anoutcome of the ordering practices through whichcommunity is rendered visible and calculable. Thisrequires moving beyond orthodox modernist notionsof community as a pre-given, xed space beyond therealm of the state (Schoeld, 2002, p. 679), andconsidering the various ways in which governingoperates through community to produce and order risk.As Dean (1999a, p. 177) argues:</p><p>Risk is a wayor rather, a set of different waysofordering reality, of rendering it into a calculableform. It is a way of representing events in a certainform so they might be made governable in particularways, with particular techniques and for particular</p><p>L. Herbert-Cheshire, V. Higgins / Jougoals.governing themselves with minimal assistance) andtargeted populations (high risk groups who requireextensive expertise and tutelage). However, rather thanexisting as a strict divide, this categorisation representsmore of a continuum where risk can be minimized,localized and avoided, but never dissipated (Dean,1999a, p. 167). From this perspective, all rural commu-nities are effectively at risk, but those who have takensteps to properly diagnose this risk through expertise,are most likely to be regarded as having demonstratedthe capacities for effective self-governance. As aconsequence, we argue in the remainder of this paperthat those communities who seek to manage risk bycalling upon experts in capacity building are representedas having demonstrated an entrepreneurial attitude toimproving their sustainability and therefore ought to berewarded with government funding. Conversely, failureto manage risk in this way is represented as a problem inadjusting to the demands of a global economy and indeveloping sustainable solutions to rural decline.1</p><p>3. The production of rural communities as sites of risk</p><p>In early 1999, Deputy Prime Minister of Australiaand leader of the National Party, John Anderson, issueda statement to the National Press Club in Canberra thatAustralia was in danger of being divided into twonations (Anderson, 1999a). Where the metropolitan andlarge provincial centres were thriving under improvedaccess to telecommunications and infrastructure, An-derson was concerned that the traditional heartland ofrural and regional Australia faced the prospect ofdeclining services, low commodity prices, high levels ofunemployment and a fall in living standards. Thegreater part of a decade of neoliberal-style thinking</p><p>1Higgins (2002) makes a similar point in relation to agriculturalparticular knowledge practices. In other words, certainphenomenon, sets of events or types of conduct aredeemed risky as a consequence of being rendered visiblethrough forms of representation and calculation. Forinstance, as Levi (2000, p. 599) notes, making acommunity visible is a central element in being ableto implement risk management strategies that go...</p></li></ul>