Accepted paper:

How socialist modernity articulates with the global trend of governance: a case study of the village reconciliation service in Vietnam

Author:

Atsufumi Kato (Kyoto Sangyo University)

Paper short abstract:

Focusing on the reconciliation service in the villages of Vietnam, this paper proves that the communitarianism of socialist modernity and the contemporary global trend of local governance are rooted in the same soil of the 20th century's conceptions of social engineering.

Paper long abstract:

Focusing on the Reconciliation Service in the villages of Vietnam, this paper proves that the communitarianism of socialist modernity and the contemporary global trend of local governance are rooted in the same soil of the 20th century's conceptions of social engineering. It argues that anthropological studies of the legal institutions of (post) socialist countries are not anachronistic but indispensable for exploring the institutions and practices of popular justice in the contemporary world. First, the paper shows that the solidarity of the villagers, which is supposed to support village reconciliation, is a product of socialist modernity. Based on an ethnographic research in a village in central Vietnam, it demonstrates the difficulties of villages in achieving autonomous mutual help and the actual basis of solidarity activated by the legacy of socialist collectivization and the framework of self-governance facilitated by the government since the 1990s. Second, it shows that the practice of village reconciliation is also a product of modernity. The paper reveals the discrepancy between village arbitration in pre-modern Vietnam, facilitated by the French colonialists' association policy of the 1920s, and the Reconciliation Service advocated by the socialist government. The paper illustrates the socialist government's conception of community justice, using which it tried to enforce the morality of mutual help to create a basis for collectivization and mobilization. Additionally, the paper describes how the legacy of the socialist modernity articulates with contemporary global trend of participatory development and community governance.

panel P101
The future of law and globalization with anthropologies