The Katuic Research Programme (intermittently from 2003 until the present) is a broad and long term research program with its academic base in the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Kaj Århem, professor of social anthropology is the overall coordinator of the program. Core members of its research team include Nikolas Århem (Uppsala University), Dr Luu Hung (Vietnam Museum of Ethnology) and Dr Pham Van Loi (IVIDES) in Vietnam and Dr Khamphaeng, Institute of Anthropology and Religion, Laos.

The
Katuic Cultural Forest Project (see home) is one of the several topical sub-projects developing from the broader, ongoing project (2009-2013): Ethnic Minority Poverty, Forest Use and Development in Central Vietnam. This overarching project is a research cooperation between IVIDES (National University of Vietnam, Hanoi) and SGS (School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg, Sweden) which proposes to explore processes of social change and the impact of “development” on ethnic minority communities in the uplands of central Vietnam. State policies, legislative measures and national as well as international development interventions increasingly define the social reality of upland peoples in Southeast Asia: resettlement programs to concentrate and reach out to remote upland population; cash-crop and irrigation schemes to increase commercial crop production; conservation measures to preserve the natural environment; large infrastructural construction projects (roads, irrigation projects etc) to
facilitate communication and the provision of services, and so on. The project examines broader economic and political forces that drive these changes – state policies and programs, land and forest legislation, minority politics and the international development industry – and how these policies and programs affect ethnic minority communities in central Vietnam. There is also a marked focus on understanding the local conceptions -- and use of -- the forest and how this "traditional" use is clashing with the state and development view on the forest as a resource primarilly for the state (or for the "global conservationist").

Previous research activities (2003-2006):
The Katuic Ethnography Project – a Swedish-Vietnamese collaborative research project – involved anthropologists from Göteborg University (GU) and the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (VME). The project was funded by a three-year research grant from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida/SAREC) and comprised six coordinated but independent ethnographic studies of three different Katuic groups: the Katu, Taoi and Bru Vankieu.

The research team included Prof Kaj Arhem (GU, overall project coordinator), Dr Luu Hung (VME, Vietnamese project coordinator), Mr Nikolas Arhem (GU), Mr Pham Van Loi (VME), Mr Nguyen Truong Giang (VME) and Ms Vu Phuong Nga (VME). Fieldwork was mainly carried out between 2003 and 2006. Mr Loi worked among the Bru Vankieu in Huong Hoa district, Quang Tri province; Mr Giang worked among the Taoi in A Luoi district, Thua Thien-Hue province. The other four researchers worked among the Katu in Tay Giang and Dong Giang districts of Quang Nam province. The four Katu case studies were designed to explore complementary aspects of Katu society and culture and to cover a broad range of villages in the high mountains and midland areas of the Katu territory. The overall purpose of the project was to produce a systematic, comparative ethnography of central social institutions and cultural traditions of the three major Katuic groups in Vietnam (Katu, Taoi and Bru-Vankieu).
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The Katuic Cultural Forest Project