The Sedentarization Program and Everyday Resistance to State Intervention in Vietnam’s Uplands

Quy Le Ngoc Phuong, Doo Chul Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Currently, large areas of land and natural resources in Northern Central Vietnam’s upland, accessed and managed by ethnic minority people, have been appropriated to serve for the government’s development schemes. These types of the state making have largely excluded local people’s rights of accessing and using natural resources, shaping different geographies of each area and livelihoods of ethnic minority people. This study aims to explore the process of state-making that has affected the socio-politico situations and livelihoods of ethnic minority people. Furthermore, the authors examine the local response to mitigate the state-making through the case study of Un village in Thanh Hoa Province, North Central Vietnam. The case study derives how Hmong people of Un village practice everyday forms of resistance to avoid the state surveillance. The result shows that the state implemented the forest land allocation, sedentarization program as a great effort to exercise controlling people and resources under the state’s surveillance. In turn, the Hmong refuse the use of land allocated by the state, expand the encroachment of shifting cultivation outside the village territory and tacit cultivation traditional medicine of Hmong people. By using the settlement pattern to create friction of distance from the state power, Hmong people successfully repelled the state surveillance. In sum up, this study implies that government policies and programs are not always implemented as they are planned, especially when they are far from the local reality. The local context plays an important role in helping local people go beyond the state’s surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPerspectives on Geographical Marginality
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NamePerspectives on Geographical Marginality
ISSN (Print)2367-0002
ISSN (Electronic)2367-0010


  • Everyday resistance
  • Hmong people
  • Local response
  • Sedentarization program
  • Vietnam’s upland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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