The development of civil society and dynamics of governance in Vietnam’s one party rule

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Title: The development of civil society and dynamics of governance in Vietnam’s one party rule

Author: Bùi Hải Thiêm

Source: Global Change, Peace & Security, 25:1, 77-93


Civil society has been in operation under one-party rule in Vietnam in the years since the Doi Moi (renewal) in 1986. Despite the continued monopoly of political power by the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), civil society has been gradually expanded and developed. The paper reviews recent arguments in the political science and area studies literature on the emergence of civil society in Vietnam’s Doi Moi period over the past two decades, to comment on the dynamics of the relationship between civil society and the party-state, problematizing the development of civil society in the context of a one-party-dominated state. At a certain level, civil society has been ‘tolerated’, ‘endorsed’, or recognized by the party state to fill a gap in the governance network. In practice, it has never been an easy project for civil society to make its way into Vietnamese society given the party-state’s Gramscian concession to maintain the existing hegemony.

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