UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Rethinking poverty and peasant in Vietnam after revolution and war Nguyen-Marshall, Van


A discussion of rural poverty necessarily involves two slippery concepts: that of the peasant and that of poverty. The early 1970s marked the beginning of renewed interest among Western scholars in uncovering the nature of the peasantry. Their efforts focused on how to define the peasants as well as how to evaluate their behaviour. Today the debate between the "moral economist" and the "rational peasant" schools remains controversial. And as for poverty itself, there is no agreement among sociologists as to what is poverty and why poverty exists in almost all societies throughout time. This M.A. thesis will examine the plight of Vietnamese intellectuals in post-revolutionary (1954) Vietnam in their attempt to solve rural poverty. Similar to Western sociologists, Vietnamese thinkers are in a quandary about the problem of poverty. The definition and solutions are not conclusive, and they change with the political climate. For the Vietnamese, however, the re-assessment of rural poverty presents a graver consequence: the re-defining of the nature of the peasantry. It is no longer satisfactory to view the peasants as the embodiment of communalistic traditions; the Vietnamese thinkers are conceding that perhaps there was never any innate qualities about the peasants that made them more inclined toward collectivization rather than private ownership. In effect, the re-evaluation of the nature of the peasantry is a challenge to theraison d'être of the Vietnamese Socialist program and ultimately, the Socialist Revolution itself.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.