Land Law Subsystems? Urban Vietnam as a case study

TitleLand Law Subsystems? Urban Vietnam as a case study
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication1998
AuthorsGillespie J
Secondary TitlePacific Rim Law & Policy
Key themesAccessToJustice, CivilSociety-Donors, Distribution, Policy-law, Urban

Throughout Vietnam's long histoty, the central elite and peripheraI farming communities have been legaIly and culturally divided. This dichotomy was never as complete as the famous injunction that "the emperor's writ stops at the village gate" infers. InitiaIly, during the period of French colonisation and more recently since the introduction of doi moi (renovation) economic reforrns, central authorities have attempted to unify land management with universaI normative law. This experiment has stimulated widespread non-compliance with land laws in urban centres; in sorne areas cornpliance is a fringe phenomenon. In this divided legaI geography, pockets of non-compliance give the appearance of autonorny from state legaIity- suggesting the existence of plural land law sub-systems. But an anaIysis of case studies concerning land use right applications, squatting, court decisions and cornpulsoty acqnisition reveaIs complex relationships between land occupiers and the state. A myriad of fonnaI and relationaI connections blurs the interface between state and society, suggesting that the officiaI and unofficiaI aspects of land management are best understood as two components of the same system. Urban case studies suggest officiaIs and the public share a common culture that sustains relationaI networks binding state land management and local land practices. In this relationaI matrix, the legaI pluraIistic concept of 'non-state legaI sub-systems' is difficult to substantiate. Where relationaI networks are weak, such as between hill tribes and the central state, non-state legaI subsytems continue to flourish.


Available for download



Document Type

Journal Article