Ecological Modernisation Theory and Industrialising Economies : The Case of Viet Nam

J. Frijns, Phuong Thuy Phung, A.P.J. Mol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


As Ecological Modernisation Theory has been developed against the background of European industrialised societies, the value and applicability of Ecological Modernisation Theory for developing or industrialising economies is often questioned. This article explores this controversy by taking Viet Nam as a case study. The analysis of environmental restructuring of contemporary economic developments in Viet Nam focuses on three major issues: state‐market relations, technology development, and environmental awareness. Regarding all three issues major deviations are found from an environmental reform trajectory as hypothesised by Ecological Modernisation Theory. The study thus concludes that Ecological Modernisation Theory is of limited value for analysing contemporary processes of and attempts at environmental reform in Viet Nam. However, recent developments in Viet Nam such as economic liberalisation, privatisation and internationalisation and the slowly starting democratisation of governance offer ecological modernisation‐inspired opportunities to incorporate environmental considerations in the economic development of Viet Nam. If Ecological Modernisation Theory is to be used to outline a feasible path of environmental reform, it has to be refined, however, to fit the specific local conditions and institutional developments of industrialising countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-293
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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