Rising Religiosity in Post-Đổi mới Vietnam and the State’s Response
SOCIAL AND CULTURAL STUDIES PROGRAMME SEMINAR
About the Seminar
Vietnam has seen a rise in religiosity and religious activities since the introduction of economic and political reforms under Đổi Mới in 1986. Relaxing control over worship while retaining state regulation over religious organizations, there has been a consequent revival of interest in state-sanctioned religions such as Christianity and Buddhism along with a strong resurgence of popular religion as well as the introduction of new and hybrid ones. Diversification in religious worldviews and practices have offered urban and rural Vietnamese an expanded variety of religious choices and outlooks. Unprecedented issues have also emerged, and posed direct challenges to the Party-state’s approach to religion and the government’s regulations of religious activities. In particular, there have been external and internal pressures on the ruling government to guarantee religious freedom. To respond to these challenges, the government has revised its religious policies and related laws. The Law on Belief and Religion was passed through by the National Assembly in November 2016 and is planned to be in effect by January 2018.
This seminar examines the responses of both the state and everyday Vietnamese to the new living religious environment since the introduction of Đổi Mới. It will identify some of the pertinent trends of religion in Vietnam, discuss their associated challenges to religious life, and analyse the state’s response.
About the Speaker
Chung Van Hoang is a postdoctoral researcher from the Institute for Religious Studies at the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. His main research interests are state-religion relationship, religious diversification, and New Religious Movements in contemporary Vietnam. He is currently a Visiting Fellow in the Vietnam Studies Programme of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. He has just published his first book: New Religions and State’s response to Religious diversification in Contemporary Vietnam: Tension from the Reinvention of the Sacred (Springer, 2017). He also has several articles published, including: ”’Following Uncle Ho to Save the Nation’: Empowerment, Legitimacy, and Nationalistic Aspirations in a Vietnamese New Religious Movement” in Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 2 (47) (2016); “New Religious Movements in Vietnamese Media Discourse since 1986: A Critical approach” in Australian Religion Studies Review, Vol. 25, No. 2 (2012).