‘The red seedlings’ of the Central Highlands: The social relatedness and political integration of selected ethnic minority groups in post-war Vietnam”

Huong Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper, not in proceedingpeer-review


Based on an ethnographic study among selected ethnic minority groups in Kon Tum province of the Central Highlands of Vietnam, this paper discusses how popular discourses about social-cultural differences between the ‘civilized’ lowland majority Kinh people and ‘backward’ upland minority groups impact on political participation of the local people. Popular assumptions contend that ethnic minorities are inept to learn, thus depriving themselves of higher education and training opportunities, eventually confining them to lowly local jobs rather than jobs of a more competitive nature. All this occurs against the backdrop of rapid economic, social and cultural transformations that reduce drastically the natural habitat of minority groups due to massive in-migration of Kinh people and the utilization of forest for production of commodities to serve the global market. A quarter of a century in the aftermath of Doi Moi, the realities on the ground show that state policies aimed at promoting social and cultural growth for the multi ethnic nation remains a myth. Particularly with regard to the social and political integration of ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands, the entrenched inequalities between the majority group and other minorities have become even wider and the few individuals from minority groups who have somehow climbed out of their own ethnic niches and succeed socially and economically are those who choose to adopt aspects of Viet/Kinh-ness.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014
EventVietnam Update Conference - the Australia National University, Canberra
Duration: 2014 Dec 12014 Dec 2


ConferenceVietnam Update Conference

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Gender Studies

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