While the last chapter identified the key characteristics of a self-help approach to

rural development, this chapter problematises these discourses as a mentality of

rule that shapes the way human beings select courses of action for revitalising their

towns and communities. Within advanced liberalism, the exercise of this mode of

governing does not occur through the direct imposition of sovereign will, but in a

way that may be described as ‘at a distance’. This occurs through the implementation

of a range of mechanisms – some discursive, others more practical – which seek to

align the attitudes and behaviours of rural people with the socio-political objectives

of state agencies (Miller and Rose, 1990). Where many such mechanisms are

individualistic, and echo neoliberal policies of personal responsibility, competition,

efficiency and reduced assistance, others are ‘inclusive and social solidaristic’

(Wright, 1998: 100) and seek to act upon individuals in the context of their families

and communities (Rose, 1996a; 1996b).