2015 Vietnam Update

Re-imagining Development in Viet Nam

The notion of ‘development’ in Vietnam is central to the practice of government and permeates society today. The 2015 Vietnam Update therefore sets out to explore the historical and contemporary meaning and practice of development, in all of its complexity. The conference will explore development in Vietnam as a goal, regime, site, or conjunction of practices that aspire(s) to improve material, social, cultural, and political life. Presenters will reflect upon ideas of development and the actors and processes that shape development, from a range of disciplinary and thematic perspectives.

The two-day Update will commence with presentations on important recent developments in Vietnam’s political and economic affairs.

Information about the Update

Conference dates: Thursday 12 November to Friday 13 November

Registration is required: Registration is free and open to the public. We will accept registrations on the day. All are welcome

Catering: Only Morning tea and afternoon tea will be provided courtesy of the 2015 Vietnam Update committee. Lunch will be provided on Thursday 12 November however please note Friday 13 November is self catered with options for lunch at the ANU, University House, New Acton.

Conference dinner: The conference dinner will be held on Thursday 12 November, 7.30pm at the LemonGrass Thai Restaurant. The cost of the dinner is $35 per person for the buffet meal only (soft drinks on the table but other drinks are extra and to be paid on the night). Please register to attend the dinner at the registration link below.

On-campus pay parking is from 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday to Friday. On-campus parking is free on Saturday. There are a number of carparks along Garran Road. For further information on parking locations please see: http://facilities.anu.edu.au/services/maps-and-way-finding

Full program

The program for the 2015 Vietnam Update is here - 2015 Vietnam Update: Re-imagining development in Vietnam

Peter Chaudhry

Peter completed his PhD in the Department of Political and Social Change in 2016. His research interests include processes of contemporary state making in Southeast Asian borderlands;...

Land Conflicts in Vietnam, John Gillespie and Philip Taylor (eds.), 2014. Special Issue of the Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 9, No. 3.

Risk, Opportunity and Resilience: Contemporary Vietnamese Mobilities, Ashley Carruthers (ed.), 2012. Special Issue of the Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Vol. 7, No. 4.

Minorities at Large: New Approaches to Minority Ethnicity in Vietnam, Philip Taylor (ed.), 2011. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Labour in Vietnam, Anita Chan (ed.), 2011. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Education in Vietnam, Jonathan London (ed.), 2011. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Modernity and Re-enchantment: Religion in Post-revolutionary Vietnam, Philip Taylor (ed.), 2007. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies; 2008. Maryland: Lexington Books.

Beyond Hanoi: Local Government in Vietnam, Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet and David G. Marr (eds), 2004. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Social Inequality in Vietnam and the Challenges to Reform, Philip Taylor (ed.), 2004. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Getting Organized in Vietnam: Moving in and around the Socialist State, Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet, Russell H.K. Heng, and David W.H. Koh (eds), 2003. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Consuming Urban Culture in Contemporary Vietnam, Lisa Drummond and Mandy Thomas (eds), 2003. London: Routledge/Curzon.

The Mass Media in Vietnam, David Marr (ed.), 1998. Monograph 25. Canberra: Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University, 1998.

Doi Moi: Ten Years after the 1986 Party Congress, Adam Fforde (ed.), 1997. Monograph 23. Canberra: Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University.

Vietnam Assessment: Creating a Sound Investment Climate, Suiwah Leung (ed.), 1996. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Dilemmas of Development: Vietnam Update 1994, Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet (ed.), 1995. Monograph 22. Canberra: Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University.

Vietnam’s Rural Transformation, Doug J. Porter and Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet (eds), 1995. Boulder: Westview Press, and Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Vietnam and The Rule of Law, Carlyle Thayer and David G. Marr (eds), 1993. Canberra: Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University.

Doi Moi: Vietnam’s Renovation Policy and Performance, Dean K. Forbes, Terence H. Hull. David G. Marr and Brian Brogan (eds), 1991. Monograph 14. Canberra: Department of Political and Social Change, Australian National University.

The notion of ‘development’ (phát triển) has permeated social, political and cultural discourse in Vietnam from colonial times to the present. Ideas of development and progress (tiến bộ) have been central organising principles of the state and remain ubiquitous today in the language and practice of government. In the post đổi mới period the party-state has also enthusiastically partnered with a plethora of foreign governmental and non-governmental organisations, all of whom have introduced powerful discourses and practices of development derived from wider international narratives, norms and ideals.

And as Vietnam modernises and becomes increasingly integrated globally ideas on what constitutes the good life are increasingly heterogenous, and expressed through local vernaculars of development that fuse and reimagine the old and new, local and translocal, at the same time perhaps rendering the state’s vision of development increasingly obsolete, or at least challenging any remaining notions of its ideological hegemony.

The 2015 Vietnam Update sets out to explore development’s historical and contemporary meaning and practice, in all of its complexity. Development in Vietnam can be framed as a goal, regime, site, or conjunction of practices that aspire(s) to improve material, social, cultural, and/or political life. Contributions to the Update will reflect upon this, as well as the ideas, actors and processes that shape development in Vietnam.

Conference speakers have been invited to reflect on the following questions:

  1. What continuities and discontinuities are apparent in both the framing and practice of development over time? What similarities, if any, are there between concepts of development in Vietnam since reunification and concepts in northern and southern Vietnam during 1954-1975? Are there particular connections apparent today to colonial and state socialist era development techniques? If so, what accounts for the durability of such practices? How new are contemporary framings of development in light of what has gone before?

  2. The implementation of development ideas and practices appears to seldom take place as intended. How has development been used, co-opted, contested and applied in different contexts, locations and by different groups? Under what circumstances and to what ends? Does development matter in the shaping of contemporary politics in Vietnam today, or is it resolutely anti-political?

  3. Development requires an ‘undeveloped’ other. What role do representations of development play in Vietnamese society today, and how are they received? Are there clear winners and losers from contemporary practices of development? Can we normatively ascribe value to development, as a positive or negative force? Under what circumstances in Vietnam’s recent experience have alternative or anti-development objectives been articulated, realised or confounded?

  4. Development has given rise to a plethora of new actors, institutions and sites for governmental practice, often resolutely equated with ‘the good’. How do these institutions, narratives and practices articulate with the existing machinery of the party-state, both national and local? And similarly how does this emergent development bureaucracy interface with more traditional practices and forms of social and cultural organisation of those subject to developmental improvement? What are the sites for co-operation, co-optation and conflict? How does each imagine the other?

  5. As Vietnam becomes an increasingly more connected and prosperous (though unequal) society, notions of development appear to be both more intimate and more diverse. Is there a prevalent, modern idea of the common good that we can identify? Or is Vietnamese society more subject now to individual notions of fantasy and desire, enveloped in a pan-Asian consumer capitalist imaginary? What influences shape how development is perceived and understood in Vietnam today? Is the idea of development dead, or simply being reimagined?

For more information on the 2015 Vietnam Update, contact the convenors:

Dr Philip Taylor
Department of Anthropology
ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
Australian National University
Canberra, ACT, 2601

+61 2 61252300
philip.taylor@anu.edu.au

Peter Chaudhry
Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs
ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
Australian National University
Canberra, ACT, 2601

peter.chaudhry@anu.edu.au

For all administrative enquires contact:

Mrs Kerrie Hogan
Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs
ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
Australian National University
Canberra, ACT, 2601

+61 2 6125 2167
kerrie.hogan@anu.edu.au

Updated:  23 March 2016/Responsible Officer:  Su-Ann Tan/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team