Social Scientist. v 12, no. 135 (Aug 1984) p. 35.


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FRANCOIS HOUTART*

The Transformation of Agrarian Structure:

The Vietnamese Experience

THE PERSPECTIVE of this paper is a sociological one, putting more emphasis on some aspects of the Vietnamese experience, namely, at the microdimension of the commune, even if they are included in a more general Marxist framework.

Our starting point lies in the fact that changes in social and economic structures mean changes in social practices and in cultural models. The rhythm of change is not the same in the various elements, even if there is always a dialectical link between them. What we have discovered in the Vietnamese experience is a pedagogy which, in the transition to a new mode of production, is built on the economic transformation itself. This pedagogy may be defined as an action to transform social behaviour and practices and cultural models.

The study that we have made on a Vietnamese commune, corresponding with a cooperative,1 shows that the peasant is an historical actor, manager of his own economic reality, but also of his symbolic representations and of his meanings. In such a process, many contradictions are arising, namely, between the necessity of the productivity and the creation of new patterns of behaviour and it is precisely the role of the sociologist to try to understand the mechanism of such transformations.

Relationship between Productive Forces and Social Relations of Production as a Form of Pedagogy

In order to understand what has happened at the level of a commune in Vietnam, it is important to have an idea first of the general evolution of the land reform in Vietnam.

The First Steps of the Land Reform {1953-1957)

We should not forget that this was a period of war and the whole problem for the Vietnamese society was to transform the social

*Centre Tricontinental, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.



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