The Power of Everyday Politics: How Vietnamese Peasants Transformed National Policy (Hardback)Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet (author)
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Ordinary people's everyday political behavior can have a huge impact on national policy: that is the central conclusion of this book on Vietnam. In telling the story of collectivized agriculture in that country, Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet uncovers a history of local resistance to national policy and gives a voice to the villagers who effected change. Not through open opposition but through their everyday political behavior, villagers individually and in small, unorganized groups undermined collective farming and frustrated authorities' efforts to correct the problems.The Power of Everyday Politics is an authoritative account, based on extensive research in Vietnam's National Archives and in the Red River Delta countryside, of the formation of collective farms in northern Vietnam in the late 1950s, their enlargement during wartime in the 1960s and 1970s, and their collapse in the 1980s. As Kerkvliet shows, the Vietnamese government eventually terminated the system, but not for ideological reasons. Rather, collectivization had become hopelessly compromised and was ultimately destroyed largely by the activities of villagers. Decollectivization began locally among villagers themselves; national policy merely followed. The power of everyday politics is not unique to Vietnam, Kerkvliet asserts. He advances a theory explaining how everyday activities that do not conform to the behavior required by authorities may carry considerable political weight.
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 652 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 29 mm
"Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet again enlarges our understanding of subaltern agency and politics. This splendid volume is a great tribute to the capacity of Vietnamese villagers to doggedly defend their basic interests and restrict the options of elites. The Power of Everyday Politics is also a great tribute to Kerkvliet as the political analyst and ethnographer of this important struggle. It is an essential contribution to Southeast Asian studies and to our understanding of socialist bloc agriculture and of the 'other' struggle of the Vietnamese people."-- James C. Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Anthropology and Director, Program in Agrarian Studies, Yale University
"The Power of Everyday Politics makes an important contribution to peasant studies by introducing readers to the Vietnamese experience in collective farming. In a superbly researched book, Kerkvliet demonstrates the vital importance of everyday political behavior on the shape of national policy. The result is not only an insightful examination of Vietnamese peasants and collective farming, but also a revised picture of Vietnam's political system and the interactions between state and society."-- Lynne Viola, University of Toronto, author of Peasant Rebels Under Stalin: Collectivization and the Culture of Peasant Resistance
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