The article explores different ways of thinking about Vietnamese politics through an examination of the writing of Adam Fforde and Edmund Malesky. It argues that in order to adjudicate between different approaches to analysing Vietnamese politics, we need to come to a view about what we think politics actually is (i.e., ontology forms the basis on which we can answer questions about epistemology). This is very different from more positivist approaches to political analysis which argue that deciding between competing arguments is about weighing the data. I argue, by contrast, that adjudicating between rival positions has more to do with a series of a priori positions or beliefs that influence what we consider reliable data in the first place.

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