Conceptualising Party-State Governance and Rule in Laos

Simon Creak, Keith Barney

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    This article develops a framework for conceptualising authoritarian governance and rule in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. After introducing the national and academic context, which go a significant way towards understanding the paucity of comparative political work on Laos, we propose an approach to studying post-socialist authoritarian and single-party rule that highlights the key political-institutional, cultural-historical and spatial-environmental sources of party-state power and authority. In adopting this approach, we seek to redirect attention to the centralising structures of rule under the Lao People's Revolutionary Party, illustrating how authoritarian institutions of the "party-state" operate in and through multiple scales, from the central to the local level. At a time when the country is garnering greater attention than at any time since the Vietnam War, we argue that this examination of critical transitions in Laos under conditions of resource-intensive development, intensifying regional and global integration, and durable one-party authoritarian rule, establishes a framework for future research on the party-state system in Laos, and for understanding and contextualising the Lao People's Revolutionary Party regime in regional comparative perspective.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)693-716pp
    JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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