Like China, Vietnam is experiencing myriad transformations. Socialism has selectively absorbed neoliberal ideas such as user-pay social services, economic deregulation, and privatization of state-owned enterprises. Telecommunications, education, media, and tourism have spread global forces through the cities and into remote villages. An agricultural society is turning to industrial, and in some cases, to post-industrial processes. Responding to these challenges the state is increasingly relying on legal rules, legal professionals, and regulation – governance is undergoing juridification. 1
Juridification is a useful concept because it sheds light on how discussion and persuasion influence state attitudes to regulation. This process does not merely denote the proliferation of laws and regulations, it also suggests structural changes in the way laws and regulations are used within society. In addition, it anticipates the fragmented and uneven legal development observed in rapidly changing societies like China and Vietnam. By focusing attention on regulatory debates, juridification also guides us towards the focal points of reform.