State-society relation at the level of urban local authority

Wards of Hanoi

Koh, David W. H. Wards of Hanoi. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2006.

The research was done by David Koh, Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS). ISEAS was established as an autonomous organization in 1968 in Singapore. It is a regional center dedicated to the study of socio-political, security and economic trends and developments in Southeast Asia.

The original questions that underline this book concern first, the extent to which the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, having a communist political system, can sustain its economic growth and development without appropriate political reforms; second, the basis on which the legitimacy of the Vietnamese Communist Party (VCP) lies. The research was started in 1990s, when the author went to Hanoi to study the Vietnamese language and to assess the two questions. In this book, the author marshals evidence to support an arena-specific approach towards viewing Vietnam’s state-society relations. In practice, the Vietnamese party-state’s relations with society vary from the hard and uncompromising state, with the bureaucracy getting its way, to society’s ability to negotiate the state’s boundaries and regimes to make less harsh. This book analyses state-society interaction at the ward level of Hanoi, an urban local authority. There are also first hand resources, such as the photographs of the city at that time and the interviews with local people.

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