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Reis, Nadine and Mollinga, Peter (2015) 'Public Policy and the Idea of the Vietnamese State: The Cultural Political Economy of Domestic Water Supply.' Asian Studies Review, 39 (4). pp. 628-648.

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Abstract

Using Rural Water Supply (RWS) policy practices as a case study, this article shows that the disjunction between implementation as formally conceived and informally practised is not a question of ineffective policy cycle dynamics, but rather an inherent feature of Vietnam’s Cultural Political Economy. Drawing on critical realist approaches to social and state theory, we argue that formal and informal RWS policy practices, as a set of two interconnected spheres, serve as key, separate but connected, mechanisms for reproducing the distribution of material resources (primarily through the informal sphere) and the hegemony of ideas (primarily through the formal sphere) in Vietnamese society. We conclude that the formal, administrative practices of RWS policy are primarily to be understood in their function of reproducing the idea of the state and state legitimacy. RWS administrative practices function to sustain the core social and political order in Vietnam as institutionalised in “the state”, rather than being primarily oriented to improving rural water supply. The findings raise questions for donor-supported programs that focus on formal administrative institutions and practices for improving the performance of the water sector.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Vietnam, Cultural Political Economy, public policy, policy practices, water supply, state theory, critical realism
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Development Studies
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Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Development Studies
ISSN: 10357823
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1080/10357823.2015.1082975
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2015 12:05
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/20561

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