UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Social relationships of migrants living in dormitories in the process of urbanization: a focus on Binh Tri Dong, Viet Nam Phan, Thien


In the last decade there has been a substantial increase of new migrants into large cities in Việt Nam, changing the social, cultural, and political fabric of Hồ Chí Minh City. Rapid urbanization and land use changes in Hồ Chí Minh City have occurred alongside mass internal migration. The movement of people has become an important piece in the 1986 economic reforms of đổi mới and a main focus of Vietnamese public policy from the late 1990s until today. With the influx of new actors comes a new set of social interactions and negotiations between people in daily life that are embedded within a broader socio-economic framework. New liberal policies on internal migration have spurred great mass internal migration into cities which has several implications for not only the entire country, but specific to this research, for the social dynamics of how Bình Trị Ðông ward is managing the influx of migrants. Not only did this field research seek to explore the social relationships and integration among migrants living on the urban fringe but the issue of local governance and infrastructure provisions in the form of migrant housing is central to this research. In short, this thesis asks: what are the social experiences of migrants living in Bình Trị Ðông? What is the role of local government, if any, in managing the social and cultural changes among migrants? My research finds that migrants are each striving towards their own individual goals of economic gains, treating Bình Trị Ðông as a temporary living space, thus preventing a strong sense of community and social bonds from flourishing. Meanwhile, more equitable planning policies of prioritizing the needs of ordinary citizens over economic development signal a shift in local development policies. Yet the government’s shift towards greater participation has not necessarily changed the lived experiences of residents. Migrants here are oriented towards their own goals thus stunting interpersonal relationships and deepening social segregation, leading one to question what ties, if any, unite people in this neighborhood.

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