chapter  10
22 Pages

Rural-urban migration in Vietnam and China: gendered householding, production of space and the state

ByMinh T.N. Nguyen and Catherine Locke

In the latter half of the last century, both Vietnam and China underwent two major social transformations that have fundamentally reconfigured the relationship between rural households and the state (Kerkvliet and Selden 1998; Perry and Selden 2010; Whyte 2010). The first was the socialist revolution followed by successive policies of land reform and collectivization between 1945 and the 1970s. The state initially redistributed agricultural land to peasant households and later reorganized land and labor for large-scale production through agricultural collectives. A socialist welfare system was established, which went hand in hand with state interventions in family life. Equity was promoted in both productive and reproductive spheres through policies targeting gender discrimination, gerontocratic control and elite privilege (Phạm 1998; Hershatter 2007). The second transformation, which started in the late 1970s in China and the late 1980s in Vietnam, saw a redeployment of land to peasant households together with reduced state control of labor, pricing and accumulation, creating a market economy managed and directed by the state, namely market socialism. In both countries, the state has since exercised less intrusion into the daily life of ordinary people and their mobility, while reinstating the household as the basic unit of welfare provision. While the household economy existed only at the margin of the previous economy, the household now regained its primary role in production and reproduction.