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This paper investigates the adaptation processes with reference to the narrative analysis of human–environment interactions in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta. From the political ecology perspective, it focuses on the discourses of the power relationships embedded within the ‘state‐society‐flood’ nexus over the course of its ‘opening‐up and closing‐off’ processes (e.g. excavating large‐scale canals for human settlements and agricultural expansion (opening‐up) and human interventions into natural systems through water control structures (closing‐off)). Drawing on empirical data gathered from 33 interviews and nine focus group discussions in three study areas and relevant literature, the paper argues that human interactions with the flood environments are intertwined with adjustments of adaptation patterns as evidenced through three periods: free adaptation (pre‐1975), transitional adaptation (1976–2010) and forced adaptation (after 2010). These processes have witnessed a gradual power shift in the ‘state‐society’ relations in manipulating floods, which moves from the top‐down towards a more collaborative fashion. By unravelling the political ecology of the ‘state‐society‐flood’ nexus, this paper exhibits the skewed development in the delta, which is largely bound to short‐term development planning to prioritise local socio‐economic and political objectives. The paper contributes important policy implications for achieving socially just and environmentally sustainable development in the delta.
Asia Pacific Viewpoint – Wiley
Published: Apr 1, 2020
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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