The widespread opposition to government plans for mining bauxite in the Central Highlands of Vietnam that emerged in early 2008 and late 2009 was a major political event. However, rather than emphasizing any particular group or approach to the party-state, the bauxite controversy was remarkable for the wide range of groups and diverse processes it brought together, as well as its progression from an instrumental and embedded politics towards a more performative and oppositional one. This paper provides the first detailed examination of this extraordinary event and the often subtle processes by which it emerged and developed.

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