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Highland development NGOs: a case study

Creating Civil Society? The Emergence of NGOs in Vietnam

by Michael L. Gray
M.A. Southeast Asian Studies
School of Oriental and African Studies, London

This paper examines the emergence of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Vietnam, and relates their development to the civil society discourse which elements of the international donor community make use of to predict the growth of pluralism and democracy. After considering the social and political environment of post-reform Vietnam, it does not appear evident that these organizations fit into any definition of civil society which stresses independence from the state and opposition to state ideology. Research was conducted primarily in April and May 1996, when the directors of many of the NGOs in Hanoi were interviewed, along with several members of the international donor community. Some organizations were contacted again in April 1998.

Published in Development and Change. October, 1999.

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