Evers, Hans-Dieter and Benedikter, Simon (2009): Strategic Group Formation in the Mekong Delta - The Development of a Modern Hydraulic Society. Published in: ZEF Working Papers Series (10. February 2009): pp. 1-27.
Download (2075Kb) | Preview
The lower Mekong Delta, one of the largest river deltas in Asia, is a landscape shaped by the waters of the Mekong River that flows, as last part of its long way from the Tibetan Plateau to the South Chinese Sea, through a dense river and canal network in the Southwest of Vietnam. People in this area are, traditionally, exposed to a water-shaped environment and have lived for generations in adaptation to their natural surrounding without much human interference into the complex natural hydraulic system of the delta. However, this has changed dramatically during recent decades when hydraulic management started to become a key issue for the development of the lower Mekong Delta constantly, in particular with respect to the agricultural sector, which is the backbone of the delta’s economy. After the Second Indochinese War ended in 1975 the delta started to shift from human adaption to human control, transforming itself into what Wittfogel has described as a hydraulic society. This was mainly due to the new socialist government’s policy of rapid agricultural extension and growing endeavours in hydraulic management for fostering irrigated rice production. By now, in many places of the delta hydraulic works such as additional canals, dykes and sluices have been set up, constructed for regulating water flows. Technical innovations in hydraulic management and agricultural production have not only had significant impact on the delta’s environment and ecology, but also have triggered social transformation, in particular the appearance of new social groups struggling for access to resources and power. This paper intends to analyzes recent trends of social development and water management in the Mekong Delta from a scientific approach that is based on two social theories, firstly “strategic group analysis”, and secondly selected core aspects of Wittfogel’s social theory of “hydraulic society”. By presenting recently collected data, it is illustrated how the Mekong Delta has been transformed into a modern hydraulic society, in which certain strategic groups emerged as a consequence of growing activities in hydraulic management and agricultural-based economic growth. More specifically, the paper aims to give an overview of strategic group development in the delta by putting a strong focus on the process of forming a state bureaucracy of hydraulic management and the appearance of hydraulic construction companies as its clients. The paper shows how the strategic alliance between both groups has increased the chances for mutually appropriating government funds spent on hydraulic works and how this has caused ecologically and socially far-reaching impacts for the Mekong Delta.
|Item Type:||MPRA Paper|
|Original Title:||Strategic Group Formation in the Mekong Delta - The Development of a Modern Hydraulic Society|
|Keywords:||Vietnam; Mekong Delta; strategic groups; hydraulic society; social transformation and power; water management; hydraulic bureaucracy|
|Subjects:||D - Microeconomics > D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making > D73 - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q2 - Renewable Resources and Conservation > Q25 - Water
A - General Economics and Teaching > A1 - General Economics > A14 - Sociology of Economics
|Depositing User:||Prof. Dr. Hans-Dieter Evers|
|Date Deposited:||06. Mar 2009 06:39|
|Last Modified:||14. Feb 2013 15:49|
ADB (2008): Water Sector Review Project – Final Draft.
Biggs, David A. (2004). Between Rivers and Tides: A Hydraulic History of the Mekong Delta, 1820-1975. Ph.D. Thesis." Department of History. Washington: University of Washington.
Brocheux, Pierre (1995). The Mekong Delta: Ecology, Economy, and Revolution, 1860-1960. Madison: University of Wisconsin.
Sardesai, D. R. (1998). Vietnam - Past and Present. Boulder: Westview Press.
Duong Van Nha (2006): ”Impacts of High dyke on Economy-Society-Environment at An Giang Province”.Donor Report for VNRP-Program.
Eberhard, Wolfram (1958): "Review of Karl A. Wittfogel, Oriental Despotism: A Comparative Study of Total Power." American Sociological Review 23:446-448.
Eisenstadt, S.N. (1958): “The Study of Oriental Despotism as Systems of Total Power”. Journal of Asian Studies 17,3:435-446.
Evers, Hans-Dieter, and Tilman Schiel. (1988). Strategische Gruppen. Vergleichende Studien zu Staat, Bürokratie und Klassenbildung in der Dritten Welt. Berlin: Dietrich Reimer Verlag.
Evers, Hans-Dieter. 1973, 2nd ed 1975. "Group Conflict and Class Formation in South-East Asia." Pp. 108-131 in Modernization in Southeast Asia, edited by Hans-Dieter Evers. Singapore and London: Oxford University Press.
Evers, Hans-Dieter (1997), "Die Theorie strategischer Gruppen", in: M. Schulz (Hg.), Entwicklung: die Perspektive der Entwicklungssoziologie. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag, pp. 155-159.
Evers, Hans-Dieter and Solvay Gerke (2009): Strategic Group Analysis. Bonn: ZEF Working Paper Series No. 34.
Fontenelle, Jean-Philippe (2001): Vietnam Red River Delta Irrigation Management – Incomplete Recognition of Local Institutional Innovations. Paris: GRET.
Gainsborough, Martin (2003): “Changing Political Economy of Vietnam- The Case of Ho Chi Minh City”. London: RoutledgeCurzon.
Gainsborough, Martin (2007): Globalisation and the State Revisited: A View from Provincial Vietnam. In: Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 1-18.
Government of Vietnam: Decision 143/2003/ND-CP: Quy định chi tiết thi hành một số điều của Pháp lệnh khai thác và bảo vệ công trình thủy lợi.
Großheim, Martin ( 2004): “Village Government in Pre-colonial and Colonial Vietnam”. In: Kerkvliet, Benedict J. Tria/Marr David J. (Hg.). Beyond Hanoi – Local Government in Vietnam. Singapur: ISEAS. Seite 54-89.
Harris, David N. (2006): Water Management in Public Irrigation Schemes in Vietnam. Canberra: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
Heberer, Thomas (2000): “Strategische Gruppen in China und Vietnam: Der Fall der Privatunternehmer. Ein Beitrag zur Konzeptionsdiskussion”. University of Bielfeld, Sociology of Development Research Centre: Working Paper No. 333.
Howie, C. (2005): "High Dykes in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam Bring Social Gains and Environmental Pains." Aquaculture News 32: 15-17.
Käkönen, Mira (2008): Mekong Delta at the Crossroad: More Control or Adaptation? In: Ambio Vol. 73, No. 3, May 2008. Pp. 205-212.
Koh, David (2001): “State-Society Relations in Vietnam. Strong or Weak State?”. In: Southeast Asian Affairs 2001. Pp. 369-386.
Leach, Edmund. (1959). "Hydraulic Society in Ceylon." Past & Present 15:2-26.
Le Meur, Pierre Yves (2005): The Local Politics of Land and Water - Case Studies from the Mekong Delta. Paris: GRET.
Long An Government (2008): Ưu tiên vốn cho các công trình dở dang và thật sự cấp bách. (www.longan.gov.vn).
Marr, David ( 2004): “A Brief History of Local Government in Vietnam”. In: Kerkvliet, Benedict J. Tria/Marr, David G. (Hg.). Beyond Hanoi – Local Government in Vietnam. Singapur: ISEAS. Seite 28-53.
Miller, Fiona (2006): Environmental Risk in Water Resources Management in the Mekong Delta: A Multi-Scale Analysis. In: Tvedt, T./Jakobsson, E. (ed.): A History of Water – Volume 1: Water Control and River Biographies. London: I.B. Tauris.
Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development: Quyết Định của Bộ Trưởng Bộ NN & PTNT: Thành lập Ban Quản lý Đầu tư và Xây dựng Thuỷ lợi 10 trực thuộc Bộ Nông nghiệp và Phát triển nông thôn. [Decision of the Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development:
Establishment of the Investment and Hydraulic Construction Management Board No. 10 under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development].
NEDECO-MDMP (1993): Master Plan for the Mekong Delta in Vietnam – A Perspective for Sustainable Development of Land and Water Resources. Ho Chi Minh City: Government of Vietnam, World Bank, UNDP.
Nguyen Van Sanh/Vo Tong Xuan/ Tran An Phong (1998): History and Future of Farming Systems in the Mekong Delta. In: Vo-Tong Xuan/Shigeo Matsui (1998): Development of Farming Systems in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh Publishing House. pp. 17-80.
Porter, Gareth (1993): “Vietnam – The Politics of Democratic Socialism”. London: Cornell University Press.
Saravanan, V.S. (2008) "A Systems Approach to Anravel Complex Water Management Institutions." Ecological Complexity, in press.
SIWRP: Quy Hoạch Thủy Lợi Tổng Hợp Đông Bằng Sông Cửu Long – Báo Cáo Tóm Tát [Planning Integrated Hydraulic Management in the Mekong Delta – Summarizing Report].
Statistical Office of Can Tho City (2008): Statistical Yearbook 2007.
Statistical Office of Vietnam (GSO): www.gso.gov.vn.
Tran Thanh Be/Bach Tan Sinh/Fiona Miller (ed.) (2007): Challenges to Sustainable Development in the Mekong Delta: Regional and National Policy Issues and Research Need.
Vo Tong Xuan (1995): “Rice Production, Agricultural Research, and the Environment”. In: Kerkvliet, Benedict J. Tria / Porter, Doug J. (ed.): Vietnam’s Rural Transformation. Boulder: Westview Press. pp. 185-200.
Wijeyewardene, Gehan. (1973): "Hydraulic society in contemporary Thailand." in Studies of Contemporary Thailand. Canberra: Research School of Pacific Studies.
Wittfogel, Karl Augustin (1957): “Oriental Despotism – A Comparative Study of Total Power”. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Worster, Donald (1982): "Hydraulic Society in California: An Ecological Interpretation." Agricultural History 56:503-515.