Contemporary Vietnam: Political Opportunities, Conservative Formal Politics, and Patterns of Radical Change

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Fforde, Adam ORCID: 0000-0001-6088-8310 (2011) Contemporary Vietnam: Political Opportunities, Conservative Formal Politics, and Patterns of Radical Change. Asian Politics and Policy, 3 (2). pp. 165-184. ISSN 1943-0779


This article examines contemporary Vietnamese politics and argues that many opportunities remain for political rethinking. It examines linguistic arguments that point to a perpetuation of traditional Communist ideas in two crucial areas—village elections and the treatment of “policy.” It then juxtaposes this formal conservatism with two areas of tension. First, problems exist in addressing important policy questions related to rural development, poverty, and participation. These suggest that without major rethinking of fundamental political issues, such problems are increasingly hard to address. Second, it examines the context of formal politics, looking at evidence for successful contestation over leadership positions in villages and the rise of informal farmers’ groups. Both have often led local officials to simple toleration and accommodation rather than exploitation of such trends to assist their own repositioning in ways that could gain them popular political support.Again, such trends highlight the void in formal political rethinking. Both of these areas of tension create considerable difficulties for donors and external partners, whose approaches are often premised upon both a familiar policy-driven role for the state in development and ignorance of local political processes.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1111/j.1943-0787.2011.01254.x
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1606 Political Science
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES)
Keywords ResPubID25003, Communist Party, grassroots democracy, politics, Vietnam, market economy, civil society organizations, free trade unions, informal farmers’ groups, IFGs, mass organizations, MOs, Vietnam Fatherland Front, VFF, poverty, democratization
Citations in Scopus 18 - View on Scopus
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