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I use the term socialist Vietnam to refer to geographic spaces where the ideological goal guiding the actions of people in them was to transform society in line with socialism’s moral and socioeconomic tenets. For this reason, the phrase is not limited to the period of state socialism (ca. early 1960s through the mid-1980s), which my informants typically defined as having three core features: centralized planning, the distribution of goods and income based on labor, and the collective ownership of the means of production. It also applies to the decades before and after it. Moreover, the phrase additionally obviates the need to repeatedly identify to which “state” these spaces belonged, except where it is necessary to differentiate the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (1945–75) from the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (1975–present). I employ the combined term party/state in two different contexts. The first concerns contexts where official discourse represents the party/state as being capable of rational thought, coherent speech, and the agency needed to engage in coordinated action. The second involves contexts where greater specificity is not crucial to my argument and might unnecessarily confuse the reader. I additionally use the forward slash (/) in the place of the more usual hyphen (-) to visually remind the reader that the relationship between the Communist Party and the state is not one of equality. In official discourse, the former “leads,” while the latter “manages.” Finally, to avoid unduly complicating matters, I make reference to the bureaucracy according to its four basic levels, each of which is vertically subsumed with the one that precedes it: central-level, provincial-level, districtlevel , and commune-level administrative units. Importantly, Vietnamese xix Terminological Note perceptions of the “local” (địa phương) depend on the official’s position within the administrative hierarchy. So, while central-level officials in Hanoi generally consider everything from the provincial-level on down to be “local,” a district-level cadre will use the term to refer to processes occurring at the commune-level and below. For the purposes of this book, “high-level officials ” include decision makers in Hanoi and/or the provincial seats because of the role both play in policy formulation and evaluation, whereas “low-level officials” are the cadres that implement these policies in the country’s communes and the villages therein. xx Terminological Note The Government of Mistrust ...


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