2001 volume 19(6) pages 639 – 667

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Gibson K, 2001, "Regional subjection and becoming" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 19(6) 639 – 667

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Regional subjection and becoming

Katherine Gibson

Abstract. This paper is motivated by a very current concern which is: how might subjects located in a predominantly single-industry resource region that has been devastated by processes of rationalization and privatization think about new regional economic futures when subjection to the Economy appears to be the most powerful and present determinant of their contemporary identity? In an attempt to provide some answers to this question I juxtapose three different modes of exploration and evidence: discussion of contemporary experiences of subjection as narrated by members of the Latrobe Valley community, analysis of historical documents that represent moments when specific forms of subjection first became embedded in practices of governmentality in the Valley, and speculations on the relations between being and becoming by social theorists Judith Butler and William Connolly. An analysis of selected techniques of governmentality affords some insights into how the Economy became the ultimate 'real' in the Valley whereas the Region has always figured as a 'construction'. And encouraged by Butler's and Connolly's work on the possibilities and politics of becoming some glimpses of new regional economic becomings are caught.

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