Researching Vietnamese Politics


Journal Article

In the the spring 2018 issue of Journal of Vietnamese Studies, Martin Gainsborough’s “Malesky vs. Fforde” offers to adjudicate a supposed dispute between two highly cited scholars of modern Vietnamese politics. Purportedly drawing on the philosophical traditions of ontology and epistemology, Gainsborough claims that we can gain traction as a field by looking closely into the preexisting belief systems that scholars bring to their research questions. Along the way, Gainsborough questions the plausibility of my own work and claims that I smuggle “liberal” values into my writing on Vietnam. In this response, I discuss five dimensions in which Gainsborough and I disagree and why they matter for studying Vietnamese politics. I do so by contrasting my choices with Gainsborough’s scholarship (both in “Malesky vs. Fforde” and other work), illustrating how Gainsborough’s research decisions lead him to faulty and damaging conclusions about my work.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Malesky, E

Published Date

  • August 1, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 13 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 127 - 162

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1559-3738

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1559-372X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1525/vs.2018.13.3.127


  • en