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Moral Economy And The Middle Peasant: The Dynamics Of Land Privatization In The Mekong Delta

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Abstract

This thesis examines how people mobilize around notions of distributive justice, or "moral economies," to make claims to resources, using the process of postsocialist land privatization in the Mekong Delta region of southern Vietnam as a case study. First, I argue that the region's history of settlement, production, and political struggle helped to entrench certain normative beliefs around land ownership, most notably in its population of middle peasants. I then detail the ways in which these middle peasants mobilized around notions of distributive justice to successfully press demands for land restitution in the late 1980s, drawing on Vietnamese newspapers and other sources to construct case studies of local land conflicts. Finally, I argue that the successful mobilization of middle peasants around such a moral economy has helped, over the past two decades, to facilitate the re-emergence of agrarian capitalism in the Mekong Delta, in contrast to other regions in Vietnam.

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2012-05-27

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Vietnam; moral economy; land reform

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Union Local

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Committee Chair

Wolford, Wendy W.

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Pfeffer, Max John

Degree Discipline

Development Sociology

Degree Name

M.S., Development Sociology

Degree Level

Master of Science

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Government Document

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dissertation or thesis

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