Moving Mountains: Ethnicity and Livelihoods in Highland China, Vietnam, and Laos

by Jean Michaud, Tim Forsyth, Univ of British Columbia Press, 2010


The mountainous borderlands of socialist China, Vietnam, and Laos are home to some seventy million minority people of diverse ethnicities. In Moving Mountains, anthropologists, geographers, and political economists with first-hand experience in the region explore these peoples’ survival strategies, as they respond to unprecedented economic and political change. Although highland peoples are typically represented as marginalized and powerless, this volume argues that ethnic minorities draw on culture and ethnicity to indigenize modernity and maintain their livelihoods. This unprecedented glimpse into a poorly understood region shows that development initiatives must be built on strong knowledge of local cultures in order to have lasting effect.

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