Ecological Modernisation in Vietnam - Opportunities and Constraints
phuong thuy Phung, University of Natural Sciences, Vietnam
Ecological Modernisation Theory is a social theory on environmental reforms. It is characterised by four core features: technological innovation, economic reform, political modernisation, and modification of social movements. The theory was first developed in the early 1980s primarily in a small group of Western European countries (Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom). Being one of the prominent theories within environmental sociology, Ecological Modernisation Theory has gone without criticism. While the analytical value of Ecological Modernisation Theory is often believed to have major relevance to European countries, its analytical meaning for developments in the so-called third world is more debated. Consequently, most of these recent third world critics focus on the Eurocentric basis of Ecological Modernisation Theory mostly from an analytical perspective. In addition, with respect to the normative perspective, some critics doubt that third world countries, which differ from European countries in their socio-political, economic and cultural conditions, can follow the paths of ecological modernisation. The objectives of this paper are to analyse the opportunities and constraints for environmental reforms in Viet Nam following the path of ecological modernisation; and to analyse the extent to which Ecological Modernisation Theory is of normative or analytical value in the context of Viet Nam.

In order to achieve these objectives, this research was carried out on the basis of qualitative case study, and the Southern Key Economic Region (including Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai Province, Binh Duong Province, and Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province) was chosen as a study area. Since it plays a significant role in national industrial development, and there are a range of environmental problems have to be tackled here. Methods were used in this research include site visit, secondary data studying, primary data collection through interviews with key informants, using open-ended interviews, in-depth, semi-structured interviews.

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