“Invented tradition”: Restoration and Reconstruction Process of Rural Institutions on Lý Sơn Island, Quảng Ngãi Province, Vietnam


Cao Nguyen Ngoc Anh
Ho Chi Minh City University of Culture, 51 Quoc Huong Street, Thao Dien Ward, District 2, Thu Duc City, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.


This article discusses and analyses the restoration and reorganization of traditional Vietnamese village institutions in Lý Sơn Island, Quảng Ngãi Province since Đổi mới (Reform, 1986). After understanding this topic, we conducted qualitative research on ethnographic field surveys during the intermittent period from March 2008 to August 2019. Our survey results show that the villagers’ self-government organization in Lý Sơn has been cultivated from the beginning of the establishment of the Vietnamese to today, forming a “village – hamlet – neighborhood (sub-hamlet)” hierarchy (làng – thôn – lân). Despite the severe effects of destruction and war, the system is stable and is playing an increasingly important role in maintaining the religious practices of the community. We use Eric Hobsbawm’s concept of “invented tradition” to explain the changes in rural systems, especially the interaction and mediation between tradition preservation and reconstruction to meet the needs of the community and adapt to the specific social environment of each period.