Conference Vietnam Update : Politics of Life in Vietnam – 2017

Please find below some details on the forthcoming Vietnam Update at the Australian National University.

Registration is required for audience members and can be done through the conference website:


2017 Vietnam Update: The Politics of Life

20-21 November 2017

Australian National University, Canberra

Vietnamese today are questioning ends and means, particularly as they relate to human security. Thirty years after the country’s communist leadership decisively embraced market integration policies, poverty is declining, incomes are rising, and lives and livelihoods are being transformed. However, as regional tensions create new uncertainties, citizens are preoccupied with trust, accountability and control as they grapple with widening social disparities, opaque governance, environmental insecurity and increasing life complexities. As debates rage about how best to safeguard the nation’s wellbeing, Vietnamese show that they thirst for transparency, fairness and reliable ways to assert control over life. Increasingly, questions are being asked as to whether life might be lived in a better way.

The 2017 Vietnam Update is dedicated to examining the politics of life. During a two-day public workshop in Canberra on 20-21 November 2017, sixteen academic specialists will analyze significant developments in Vietnam’s society, politics and international relations. Presenters will document the challenges to life posed by regional power disparities, social inequalities, environmental destruction and state incapacity. They trace new varieties of political activism and examine the strategies citizens utilize to mitigate risk and suture gaps through mutual assistance and security from below. As Vietnamese people confront new threats, the papers show that they also endeavour to wrest control over life through deliberative modes of living and being.



Conference Opening

Michael Wesley, Dean, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Political Review: Vietnam in 2017

Carlyle Thayer, The University of New South Wales, Canberra

Vietnam’s Economy in 2017 and Beyond

Vu Thanh Tu Anh,  Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management, Vietnam

On the Political Economy of Rice Policy in Vietnam

Hoa-Thi-Minh Nguyen and Do Lien Huong, Australian National University (with Adrian Kay, Tran Cong Thang and Nguyen Thi Cam Nhung)

The Dynamics of Inequality in Vietnam

Nguyen Tran Lam, Oxfam, Vietnam, Nguyen Viet Cuong, Mekong Development Research Institute and Hoang Xuan Thanh, Ageless Consultants, Vietnam

Micro-politics of Contemporary Land Disputes in Vietnam

Andrew Wells-Dang, Oxfam, Vietnam

Environment and Conservation: People, State and Civic Space in Vietnam

Hiep Duc Nguyen, Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City

I just want Cam Thanh to be Beautiful like Cam Thanh: Organic Farming as Life

Ashley Carruthers, Australian National University, and Dang Huong Giang, Action for the City

Migration as a Survival Strategy in a Multi-ethnic Village of the Mekong Delta since 1975

Hisashi Shimojo, Kyoto University

Illicit and Important: State, Industry and Local Livelihoods in the Mekong Cross Border Timber Trade

Phuc Xuan To and Sango Mahanty, Australian National University


Biopower with Socialist Characteristics: Poverty and Welfare in Post-Transition Vietnam

Martha Lincoln, San Francisco State University

Overload: The Crisis of Overcrowding in Vietnam’s Leading Hospitals

Maria Stalford, Harvard University

Elderly Women’s Buddhist ‘Work’ as Continuity of Care and the Enchantment of Old Age in Contemporary Urban Vietnam

Le Hoang Anh Thu, Hoa Sen University, Ho Chi Minh City

The Troubled Generation: Urban Youth, Vietnamese Buddhism, and the Biopolitics of Precarious Mindfulness

Dat Manh Nguyen, Boston University

Hoa Hao Herbal Medicine and the Production of Merit

Vo Duy Thanh, Australian National University

Mediated Intimacy: Fandom as a Way of Life

Ha Hoang, Western Sydney University

Floating Academy: The Precarious Lives of Foreign Academics at an International University in Vietnam

Jodie-Lee Trembath, Australian National University

Policing Vietnam: An Ethnography of Police Culture, Norms and Practices in Transition

Melissa Jardine, University of New South Wales Law School

Plenary Discussion

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