Year published :August 2010

Pages :256 pp.

Size :13.8x21.6 cm.

Rights :Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and Myanmar

ISBN: 9786162150029

Vietnam Rethinking the State

by Martin Gainsborough

Vietnam: Rethinking the State offers an exciting and up-to-date look at the politics of this fascinating country as it seeks to make the transition from war-torn economic backwater to a dynamic and modern society. The book argues for a move away from the commonly associated idea of “reform”, arguing for a deeper understanding of the concept and questioning the idea of state-retreat. The result is a path-breaking book which gets beneath the surface of Vietnam’s politics in a way which few outsiders otherwise could.

About the Author

Martin Gainsborough is a recognised international expert on Vietnam and its politics. He is Reader in Development Politics in the Department of Politics at the University of Bristol. He is also director of the Bristol-Mekong Project, and consults widely on aspects of Vietnam’s politics and business, notably for the United Nations Development Programme, the UK’s Department for International Development, and the World Bank. He teaches on development studies, Vietnamese and Asian politics, and state theory. He is author of Changing Political Economy of Vietnam: The Case of Ho Chi Minh City (Routledge, 2003) and editor of On the Borders of State Power: Frontiers in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region (Routledge 2009).

What others are saying

“Martin Gainsborough’s Vietnam: Rethinking the State is an arresting re-examination of politics in contemporary Vietnam through the framework of political economy. All Vietnamese studies specialists will have to stop in their tracks and read this volume before proceeding further. Gainsborough represents the best of the rising post-Vietnam War generation of scholars who has studied Vietnamese language and conducted extensive fieldwork throughout Vietnam. He challenges conventional accounts of the state’s retreat in a thought-provoking manner. His analysis will have appeal to a wider academic audience. Vietnam: Rethinking the State is written in an engaging style and is wonderfully structured and organised. Stop, read and proceed!”—Carlyle A. Thayer, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of New South Wales at the Australian Defence Force Academy

“Gainsborough’s latest book offers a state-of-the-art exploration of political theory applied to the case of Vietnam. Posing fruitful and systematic questions about categories such as ‘state’ and ‘society’, and placing these within a range of research issues, he teases out powerful conundrums as relevant for Vietnamese concerned with the political future of their country as for those attempting to analyse her politics. Clearly written and based upon extensive fieldwork, his discussion of the value of theory amplifies a vivid focus upon the major issues Vietnam faces as the relatively easy development seen since the emergence of the market economy in 1989–91 morphs into her troubled transition to ‘middle income’ status and demands for higher quality economic growth.”—Adam Fforde, Adam Fforde & Assoc p/l (Chairman), Asia Institute, University of Melbourne (Principal Fellow), Centre for Strategic Economic Studies, Victoria University (Professorial Fellow)


  • An exciting and up-to-date look at the politics of this fascinating country
  • By a well respected scholar of the region who lived in Vietnam for 20 years
  • An instantaneous classic—has no rival in its journey beneath the surface of Vietnam’s politics


    Vietnam | political reform | regionalism | corruption | unification | elite politics

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