Getting Organized in Vietnam: Moving in and around the Socialist State

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Ben J Tria Kerkvliet, Russel Hiang-Khng Heng, David Koh Wee Hock
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2003 - Social Science - 277 pages
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From the late 1950s in the north, to the 1970s until the mid-1980s in the south, there was little room or opportunity to form non-state voluntary organizations and associations in Vietnam. With few exceptions, only those established by the Communist Party and other state agencies were permitted.

The picture has changed considerably since doi moi.  From proactive self-help associations for the disabled to mass, semi-state or “non-governmental” organizations,  the Vietnamese people are getting together to voice their collective and specific interests vis ą vis the state. The process of getting together, voicing ideas, acting in concert, and attempting to influence policy in some cases is ongoing and in constant flux. This book presents original case studies of the gamut of organizations in Vietnam today and analyses their relationships with umbrella state organizations which are themselves evolving.

Getting Organized in Vietnam also constitutes an enquiry into the term “civil society” itself. The contributors examine current thinking about the nature of the state in Vietnam in particular. Included here are the first attempts to provide a framework for assessing and categorizing the bewildering array of small organizations in Vietnam: which ones are weakly connected to the state, which ones are independent of the state but perhaps dependent on outside funding agencies.

This book is a must for scholars, policymakers, journalists and others interested in  understanding political and social change in Vietnam and other transitional economies.


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About the author (2003)

 • Benedict J Tria Kerkvliet is Emeritus Professor, The Australian National University

• Russell Hiang-Khng Heng is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

• David W.H. Koh is Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore

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