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Growth without Democracy: Challenges to Authoritarianism in Vietnam
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science.
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Vietnam today can clearly be counted as a case of economic success. At a party congress in the mid-1980s, the formal decisions were made on a reform program under the name of Doi Moi (renovation), which aimed at liberalising and reforming the economy. Many believed that a process of democratisation would follow in the path of economic liberalisation. However, it could soon be noted that the initial liberalisation of the political regime experienced in the early reform years quickly came to an end. Low-cost production has been the primary element in the strategy of the regime for creating comparative advantages for entrance into the globalised economy. The major incentive for foreign investors has been cheap and disciplined labour. Given that Vietnam industrialised under an essentially authoritarian regime, severe restrictions were imposed on organisational activities among workers. Rights of association and assembly were ignored at the same time as the Doi Moi industries displayed disturbing levels of human rights abuses and repressive working conditions.

What are the tensions that arise within an authoritarian party-state when going through a process of economic liberalisation? In this thesis that question is approached by studying the relations between the state and the trade unions in Vietnam and how they deal with the dramatically escalating level of conflict in the labour market that have come with economic liberalisation. The answers provided in this study point in different directions. While authoritarianism was reproduced at the level of the political regime, it was simultaneously challenged by unprecedented strike movements, mainly in the southern industrial zones. In the face of the inability of the regime to respond to the rising level of social conflict, independent forms of organisation were sought outside of the formal framework of the party-state. These organisational activities challenge the basic organisational principles and institutions of the party-state.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Political Science, Stockholm University , 2011. , 251 p.
Stockholm studies in politics, ISSN 0346-6620 ; 137
Keyword [en]
party-state, economic liberalisation, authoritarianism, democratisation, civil society, labour strikes, trade unions and democratisation, industrial zones, Foreign Direct Investment, Vietnam
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-50003ISBN: 978-91-7447-199-1OAI: diva2:380371
Public defence
2011-01-27, sal G, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-01-03 Created: 2010-12-21 Last updated: 2010-12-29Bibliographically approved

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