Vietnam’s New Rural Development program envisages the creation of a newly modern rural Vietnam. Drawing on fieldwork, this paper argues that the program has had little bearing on peasant livelihood strategies. The emergence of deagrarianization has not arisen as a result of the program but because of household interest in maintaining a diverse set of income activities. These two contrasting rural realities—the advance of deagrarianization against a backdrop of continued subsistence farming—coexist and are mutually supportive. Peasant livelihood diversification strategies have been perpetuated without much attention to broader state-led initiatives aimed at “reforming” the countryside.

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