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 them less harsh. Any analysis of Vietnam's state-society relations needs to recognize and demonstrate both elements of dominance and accommodation, as well as specify the context in which either or both are seen. Alone, neither is adequate. In particular, the idea of the "state" needs to be disaggregated because "state" is not a singular actor that is coherent or uniform through time and space. To demonstrate how state-disaggregation can make our view more nuanced, this book analyses state-society interaction at the ward level of Hanoi, an urban local authority.
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