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Additional info for Vietnam: Peasant Land, Peasant Revolution: Patriarchy and Collectivity in the Rural Economy

Example text

Popkin's modern peasants lived in open villages and engaged in market activities within a legal framework where private property and western-style contracts were established. Whereas others have seen peasants, including Vietnamese peasants, as a group caught in between new and old realities, Popkin saw them as small farmers operating according to new economic rules. Popkin Peasants and Socialism 15 viewed capitalism as having become fully established in Vietnam. He saw this establishment as largely to the benefit of Vietnamese farmers.

The Vietnamese identity was maintained because the Chinese were never able to change completely the character of the Vietnamese village. The Chinese promoted more centralised villages and a centralised Collective Property and Confucian Patriarchy 29 state, ruled by a mandarin system of administration. Chinese institutions were superimposed on a pre-existing Vietnamese social structure and the eventual result was a specifically Vietnamese form of centralised State and a stronger Vietnamese village which was controlled by a patriarchal elite.

17 Beginning with the Le Code, Vietnamese imperial laws regulating landholding patterns are a major source of information about traditional landholding and local political economy. These laws, however, were not always administered down to the village level. Because of a strong tradition of village autonomy, we cannot assume that what the law prescribed existed in all the villages in Vietnam. Strong emperors were able to carry out their decrees more effectively than monarchs who did not have much support.

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