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Vietnam decollectivizes : land, property, and institutional change at the interface Scott, Steffanie

Abstract

This dissertation addresses the multifaceted process of decolectivization in Vietnam—the shift from colective to household production and the alocation to households of long-term land-leases. The fieldwork-based study aims to outline the institutional changes within this process and assess their implications for livelihood vulnerability, particularly in terms of ethnic and gender differences. Two case studies from Thai Nguyen province in the northern midlands Vietnam highlight the diverse outcomes of and responses to decolectivization. The reconfiguration of property rights created competition over access to resources, with land conflicts over inheritance emerging at the intra-family level and conflicts over ancestral lands the inter-household and inter-ethnic level. There are six broad conclusions that can be drawn from this analysis. First, interpreting decolectivization as institutional restructuring emphasizes the multiple and interrelated dimensions of changes underway—in property rights, the organization of production, scales decision making, discourses of development, new stakeholders, and various forms of informal institutions. Second, the analysis points to frequent gaps between national policy and on-practice and to the need for greater attention to complexity in social processes. reestablishing the household as principal production unit, decolectivization and property rights restructuring in Vietnam have affected marriage and inheritance trends and, in turn, household and kinship relations. Fourth, these processes of institutional change can be linked to new patterns of access land and related resources, thereby shaping new patterns of vulnerability. Fifth, these paterns vulnerability are mediated in part by formal institutions, exemplified by the loss of some services formerly provided to farmers by agricultural colectives. And lastly, informal social institutions are a further factor mediating new patterns of livelihood vulnerability. Social networks operate differentially and can lead to discrimination for some women and ethnic groups.

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