Capitalist pigs: Governmentality, subjectivities, and the regulation of pig farming in colonial Hong Kong, 1950–1970
Wing Chan, K
Environment and Planning D: Society and Space
(c) The Author(s) 2015, SAGE Publications
This paper analyses the philanthropic governmentality of the Hong Kong colonial government during the Farm Improvement Program (1950–70), focusing on the utilization of pigs, interest-free loans, and the spatial constitution of pig farming as technologies to transform refugee farmers into ‘productive workers’. This research has three primary objectives: to (1) elucidate how the production of knowledge and governing technologies, including the spatial design of livestock production, facilitated the disciplining of pig farmers in a colonial context; (2) expand Foucauldian governmentality analysis into the realm of the regulatory mechanisms of food production systems by documenting how philanthropic pig donations, lending programmes, and the distribution of material benefits promoted capitalist pig production; and (3) demonstrate how technologies – specifically the social construction of pigs and the spatial constitution of pig farming practices – moulded the subjectivities of colonial pig farmers. Empirical analysis is based on archival research and in-depth interviews with 19 pig farmers and two pig farmers’ association leaders. We identify the provision of free pigs and pigsties, the demonstration of new spatial pig-raising practices, and the establishment of interest-free lending systems as the major technologies of governance employed under the Farm Improvement Program. Through these technologies refugee farmers from mainland China learned and internalized concepts of efficiency, productivity, farm management, and self-help. The technologies of the Farm Improvement Program were not just philanthropic activities, they were political tactics to confront the penetration of communism into the colony by changing the practices, productivity, and subjectivities of refugee farmers.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from SAGE Publications via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 33 (6), pp. 1022 - 1042