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One-Party State and the Mimicry of Civil Society

By John Kleinen

[Amsterdam Institute for Social Sciences Research (AISSR) of the University of Amsterdam]

« Occasional Paper », Investigation Series n°03, August 2015, 118 pages.

ISBN: 978-616-7571-25-6
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Are the issues of civil society, “good governance”, and the role of NGOs in Vietnam part of a discursive discourse that is linked to a growing development industry in which development studies and economics dominate? Kleinen questions these issues based upon longitudinal research in Vietnam since the early 1990s. In this study, an effort is made to explain the concrete interactions between authorities of the Vietnamese one-party state and its citizens by introducing an attitude of participants to conceal their real intentions with the intent to disguise their actions in order to obtain benefits for their own. Using the concept of mimicry the author tries to grasp what it means to live in a society where political and economic life is dominated by elite groups and were social change is coming from different directions.



Chapter 1
- The political system: state-party relations reconsidered
- Changing state, party and society relations

Chapter 2
- NGOs in Northern Vietnam: between public and private domains

Chapter 3
- Constructing civil society? A tale of two villages



The author:

John Kleinen is a retired associate professor in anthropology and history at the University of Amsterdam. He is specialized on Vietnamese studies and visual anthropology.

The Irasec
The Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia (USR3142 - UMIFRE22 CNRS-MAEDI) has since 2001 focused its activities on the political, economic, social and environmental evolutions of the eleven countries of the region (Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam). Based in Bangkok, the institute promotes transdisciplinary and regional approaches.

Contacts :
François Robinne, Director/directeur
Email :
Abigaël Pesses, Deputy director/directeur adjoint
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IRASEC c/o French Embassy
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