In the northern hills of Vietnam

In a new article, “State Livelihood Planning and Legibility in Vietnam’s Northern Borderlands: The ‘Rightful Criticisms’ of Local Officials,” Sarah Turner, Thomas Kettig, Đinh Thị Diệu and Phạm Văn Cự (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2015.1028964) examine long-standing issues related to ethnicity and livelihoods in the mountains of Vietnam.

This article examines contemporary Vietnamese state legislation regarding upland livelihoods, looking at 82 livelihood-related state decrees, examining their scope and edicts while critiquing what they overlook regarding upland livelihood needs and approaches.

Using in-depth interviews with state officials in Hà Giang Province, a mountainous upland region with a large ethnic minority population, the article also explore the opinions of those who implement the decrees. Using O’Brien’s notion of rightful resistance in China, the authors suggest that a form of “rightful criticism” has emerged among upland state officials, revealing the contours of political power in Vietnam’s borderlands.

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