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Law and Literature in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam


This dissertation studies what socialist law and literature owe to each other, and how both can shore up or strain the party-state. It focuses on the 1970s–1990s, when the Socialist Republic of Vietnam set up a complex legal system to ease its transition to a market economy. This period also saw the appearance of a body of literary works, known as Đổi Mới [Renovation] fiction. In four chapters, this dissertation uncovers just how the government built up socialist law, testing Soviet and Chinese legal principles, adapting them by fits and starts to strengthen its own legal order. Each chapter examines the ways Vietnamese writers created characters who must confront the force of law. These characters represent the socialist legal subject long overlooked by the scholarship on Asian postsocialism, and the interdisciplinary field of law and literature.

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