Pamela McElwee's Forests Are Gold argues that Vietnam's forest policies from the colonial period to the present era of market-based socialism (chapter 5) are a form of “environmental rule.” Based on insights obtained from long-term ethnographic fieldwork and archival sources, McElwee suggests that environmental rule occurs “when states, organizations, or individuals use environmental or ecological reasons as justification for what is really a concern with social planning” (p. 5). Combining Foucault's governmentality framework and actor-network theory, the book examines the history of environmental intervention in Vietnam through processes of problematization, knowledge making, directing conduct, and subject making. McElwee innovatively suggests that “by turning away from studies of states and regulations and towards knowledge, networks, and practices, a more complex, realistic, and contingent picture of governance emerges” (p. 13). As a long-time enthusiast of political ecology studies, I find the book's conceptual framing an original and important contribution to the field....

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