IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Strategic Group Formation in the Mekong Delta - The Development of a Modern Hydraulic Society

  • Evers, Hans-Dieter
  • Benedikter, Simon

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.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13796/1/MPRA_paper_13796.pdf
File Function: original version
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 13796.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: 10 Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:13796
Contact details of provider: Postal: Schackstr. 4, D-80539 Munich, Germany
Phone: +49-(0)89-2180-2219
Fax: +49-(0)89-2180-3900
Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Harris, David N., 2006. "Water management in public irrigation schemes in Vietnam," Impact Assessment Series (IAS) 113170, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:13796. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.