Cultivating Gender: Means of Place and Work in Rural Vietnam

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by Cecilia Bergstedt

'The husband ploughs, the wife transplants, the buffalo harrows.’ In rural Vietnam, this ancient saying has survived communist revolution, land reforms and the recent rise of market-oriented household farming. And yet, even if this trinity still pictures the ideal essence of farming life, the reality is that urbanization, labour migration and economic change in the Vietnamese countryside are leading to a feminization of farming. This transformation has profound implications not just for the agricultural sector and the individual women themselves but also for fundamental social structures and relations. By exploring in detail the lived reality of rural life in a northern wet-rice village, the author offers important insights into place, work and (not least) what constitutes femininity and masculinity in Vietnam today.

"Dr Bergstedt’s book examines in greater depth and more systematically than most anthropological studies in Southeast Asia how farming is an integral part of the gendering process. This is a key contribution of her work to gender studies and the anthropology of Southeast Asia." – Hy Van Luong, University of Toronto

Cecilia Bergstedt is a social anthropologist from Gothenburg University. Her research interests include gender and the interplay between persons and places, examples being farmers in rural Vietnam and Vietnamese migrants’ relationship to their ancestors.

Publication year: 2015
238 pp / 229mm x 152mm
6 figures
ISBN: 978-87-7694-180-2, Paperback
ISBN: 978-87-7694-179-6, Hardback

NIAS Press