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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 75-95

Conflicting Concepts: Contested Land Relations in North-western Vietnam

Humboldt University Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Thomas Sikor
Humboldt University Berlin, Berlin
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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In villages of north-western Vietnam land allocation provided a window in which different conceptions of land relations came to light. Villagers resisted the imple­mentation of key elements of the new land legislation, though the new law purported to extend people's control. Their resistance manifested a fundamental disjuncture between the exclusive and territorial concept of land rights promoted in the new land law and people's lived land relations. They refused to give up the substance of land relations that had proven useful before collectivisation, under collective agriculture and again in the initial years of decollectivisation. People's reactions highlight how post-socialist land reforms provoke their own forms of resistance. Villagers negotiate the reforms in conflicts over resources and authority as well as over the very concept of landed property. This article examines the nature of these conflicts, explores their linkages with socialist and post-socialist land legis­lation, and relates them to the larger literature on post-socialist property relations.

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