Multiple environmental subjects: Governmentalities of ecotourism development in Jeungdo, South Korea

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This paper explores multiple and variegated environmental subjectivities through the case study of ecotourism development in Jeungdo, South Korea. Drawing on Foucault's work on governmentalities, recent studies on “multiple governmentalities” explore the complex and situated operation of power in contemporary environmental governance. However, limited attention so far has been paid to how multiple governmentalities are experienced by those who are governed. By bringing multiple governmentalities and recent discussions of environmental subjects together, this paper reconfigures environmental subjectivity as multiplicity, from which a variety of subject positions beyond the plan of the governing authorities can emerge. It first examines how local residents of Jeungdo shape their environmental behaviours through multiple governmentalities of ecotourism. It pays particular attention to the ways in which local residents conform, contest, and manipulate governmental programmes, while making references to the site-specific context related to the experience of the developmental state. It then discusses the coexistence and interplay of various, contradictory, and surprising positions of environmental subjects – which I call “multiple environmental subjects” – in relation to the capacity of local residents in the operation of environmental governmentalities. This paper argues that environmental subjectivity is a variegated process in which local residents negotiate governmental programmes in various and creative ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-86
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
I would like to thank Jamie Lorimer, Richard Perkins, and Heuishil Chang for their comments on an earlier draft. I would also like to thank colleagues in the Department of Geography and Environment at LSE, three anonymous reviewers, and Robert Fletcher for their constructive criticisms and suggestions. The writing process of this paper was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea grants funded by the Korea government ( NRF-2018R1A5A7025409 and NRF-2017S1A5B5A01026492 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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