Urban destruction and land disputes in periurban Hanoi during the late-socialist period

TitleUrban destruction and land disputes in periurban Hanoi during the late-socialist period
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsLabbé D
Secondary TitlePacific Affairs
Key themesAccessToJustice, CivilSociety-Donors, Dispossession-grabbing, MarginalisedPeople, Policy-law, Urban

This paper discusses the recent rise in land disputes in the rapidly urbanizing outskirts of Hanoi. It presents emerging social conflicts as resulting from a clash between the rules and practices of urbanization as devised and regulated locally by periurban people and the territorialization projects that municipal authorities and land developers try to impose on them. At the heart of these conflicts are expropriations of large tracts of periurban land by state-backed developers and the reforms of local institutions that facilitate this process. Using the case of a village recently annexed to the city, this paper examines how local people resort to contentious politics to resist this urban encroachment. The paper finds that groups of elderly villagers assumed a leading role in crafting and deploying acts and discourses of resistance, relying on state-promoted values to support their claim. It further suggests that, while periurban villagers acknowledge the necessity of integrating their locality into Hanoi’s urban fabric and governance system, they rise up when this process threatens moral relationships inherited from the prerevolutionary and collectivization periods.


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Document Type

Journal Article