Exchanging Land, Explaining Power: Land Consolidation in Peri-urban Hanoi by Growth and Structure of Cities Major Minh Tran '16 appears in the latest issue of The Journal of Undergraduate Ethnography (JUE).
The article is based on Tran's senior thesis research, which was accomplished with the support of a Hanna Holborn Gray Fellowship.
Abstract: How do economic growth and the spread of housing and facilities affect cities’ peri-urban land and peoples? In many cases around the world, agricultural land is being converted and repurposed rapidly for urban uses through the process of land consolidation. However, how does land consolidation actually affect farmers and communities? What role do they have in the process? How do they evaluate results? Using participant observation and semi-structured interviews with thirteen local farmers in Soc Son, a peri-urban district of Vietnam undergoing land consolidation in 2010, this article illuminates four major conflicts that affect the outcome of land consolidation. These conflicts are (1) between the state’s strategy of decentralization and the disparate human resources on the ground, (2) between the ideology of equity and the efficiency of land redistribution, (3) between the promise of mechanization and unequal access to machines, and (4) between infrastructural improvements and actual needs. I argue that the failure of policymakers to account for existing inequalities and local context in Soc Son villages has led to unfulfilled promises of land consolidation and further stratification within the farmer community.
The JUE is an online publication for undergraduate academic writing. The JUE seeks to distribute original scholarly ethnographies from a variety of disciplinary areas. Its goal is to bring readers, especially other undergraduates, insights into subcultures, rituals, and social institutions.
The interdisciplinary Growth and Structure of Cities major challenges the student to understand the dynamic relationship of urban spatial organization and the built environment to politics, economics, cultures and societies.