State policy and use of forest resources in Vietnam: An Explanation by Habermas's theory of communicative action

Nguyen Vinh Quang, Ricardo Abad, Noriko Sato

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In many places in Vietnam, despite the state policy attempting to protect, forest resources have been rampantly extracted and traded by local people. The study was formed to understand the interaction between the state and a local community in the management, use, and control of forest resources. An upland community in Northern Central Vietnam was chosen for the study. Findings were explained by the Habermas's theory of communicative action. The study explored that the interaction between the state and the community has been marked by conflict: the state banned valued forest resource extraction, while the villagers persisted in extracting the resources which they have traditionally considered a source of livelihood and income. This communication, in Habermas's terms, is the colonization of the state over the community. The colonization, however, was not successful as the villagers subverted the state's intention and reconstituted their livelihood. They continued to extract and even trade forest resources despite threats of arrest and punishment. The study further showed three major factors that enabled the reconstitution of livelihood of the villagers to thrive, which were (i) state mismanagement, or the inability of the state to enforce forest protection laws, (ii) network formation, or the ability of village residents to build and sustain linkages that made forest extraction a regular, systematic, and profitable enterprise, and (iii) collusion, or the involvement of state officials in forest extraction activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-335
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Faculty of Agriculture, Kyushu University
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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