Development and Urbanization
In much of the mobilities literature, a dichotomy exists between the urban and rural. Positioned as a receiving center, the urban is conceptualized as cosmopolitan, diverse, and dynamic, while the rural is conflated (and deflated) into its opposite, a backward and unchanging place that drives people elsewhere. Yet, this false binary ignores many similarities between urban and rural geographies and the complexities of modern rural life. To rectify this gap, this study builds upon 20 months of fieldwork within a rural community in Vietnam and uses it as a node to explore the interconnecting transformations among Asia’s rural areas. Findings reveal the domino effects of transnational and translocal rural marriages in Asia, and how rural shifts in South Korea have created corresponding changes in Vietnam, which I refer to as fractal relations. Given the nuanced revelations of modern rural transformations, this study calls for reconceptualizing the rural to better reflect its global, heterogeneous, and multifaceted evolution.