Civics Citizenship

Civil Society Networks in China and Vietnam: Informal by A. Wells-Dang

By A. Wells-Dang

This booklet brings a clean, unique method of comprehend social motion in China and Vietnam in the course of the conceptual lens of casual environmental and future health networks. It exhibits how voters in non-democratic states actively create casual pathways for advocacy and the improvement of functioning civil societies.

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Extra resources for Civil Society Networks in China and Vietnam: Informal Pathbreakers in Health and the Environment

Sample text

Such an approach is flexible enough to apply in all societies, while offering a context and direction for comparative research. Civil society networks engage in advocacy, defined as ‘any attempt to influence the decisions of any institutional elite on behalf of a collective interest’ (Jenkins 1987: 267). This definition is broader than policy change alone: advocacy also can focus on policy implementation or public opinion (O’Brien and Li 2006: 85, 96). In the development and public policy literature, advocacy models have also been used to explain policy processes within the state.

Virtual networks are not considered as a separate type, but rather as a subset of informal advocacy or personal networks that have selected a particular communication structure. Virtual organising is employed by a variety of networks but is a particular feature of dissident networks such as Vietnam’s Bloc 8406 (Thayer 2008, Hayton 2010: 113–34) and anti-bauxite mining campaign (Thayer 2010). Whether networks can be considered as civil society networks depends on their relative position in this typology as well as the extent to which they share other characteristics described in Chapter 1.

As political opportunities shift and waves of contention rise and fall, change is both contingent and path-dependent: once a tipping point is reached, there is no return (Koopmans 2004: 40–1). Social movements are a subset of civil society networks that are large, sustained and highly coordinated – ‘a network of networks’ (della Porta et al 2006: 31). The same is true for an intermediate form, advocacy campaigns, which have certain features of social movements but on a smaller scale. The differences among networks, campaigns and movements are not fixed but are rather a question of perspective, size, and degree.

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