Ben Kerkvliet

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Ben Kerkvliet is Emeritus Professor at the Department of Political and Social Change, School of International, Political & Strategic Studies, Australian National University. He works across the areas of comparative politics, Southeast Asia and Asian studies. Kerkvliet was born and raised in Montana, surrounded by working-class relatives and friends for whom political discussion and debate were part of life. After graduating from the local public high schools, he earned his B.A. at Whitman College (Walla Walla, Washington) and his M.A. and Ph.D. at University of Wisconsin–Madison. He taught at the University of Hawai'i in (Honolulu) for nearly twenty years before joining the Australian National University in 1992 where he was a Professor and Head of the Department of Political and Social Change, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies. Kerkvliet currently resides in Hawai'i with his wife Melinda.


Kerkvliet is fascinated with how ordinary people deal with big pressures on their lives. He has emphasized research on agrarian politics in Southeast Asia. Closely related is his study of interactions between ordinary people and authorities or other elites. He is currently doing research on local reactions to major recent national policies in the Philippines and Vietnam.

Career highlights[edit]

Kerkvliet taught Political Science and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii from 1971 to 1991. He has been teaching at Australian National University since 1991. He has received various international fellowships and awards for research and teaching in Asia, Australia, Europe and America. Most importantly, Kerkvliet enjoys working with industrious graduate students and living in and doing research in the Philippines and Vietnam.


Key Publications[edit]


  • Political Change in the Philippines: Studies of Local Politics Prior to Martial Law, editor, (Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii, 1974).
  • The Huk Rebellion: A Study of Peasant Revolt in the Philippines (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977; paperback edition, 1982) (Reprinted in a Philippine edition by New Day Press, Quezon City, 1979 and several times since; Reprinted with addition of a bibliographic essay, Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002)
  • Everyday Forms of Resistance in Southeast Asia, co-edited with James C. Scott, (London: Frank Cass, 1986), originally a special issue of Journal of Peasant Studies 13 (January 1986).
  • Everyday Politics in the Philippines: Class and Status Relations in a Central Luzon Village (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990, paperback and hardback). Reprinted in a Philippine edition by New Day Press, Quezon City, 1991 (Reprinted with addition of “Postscript” (pp. 274–289) and bibliography, Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002)
  • Dilemmas of Development: Vietnam Update 1994, editor, (Canberra: Dept. of Political and Social Change, ANU 1995).
  • Transforming Asian Socialism: China and Vietnam Compared, co-edited with Anita Chan and Jonathan Unger (Sydney: Allen and Unwin; and Boulder: Rowman & Littlefield, 1999).
  • Mot so Van De ve Nong Nghieip, Nong Dan, Nong Thon o cac Nuoc va Viet Nam [Some issues regarding agriculture, peasants, and the countryside abroad and in Vietnam], co-edited with Nguyen Quang Ngoc and James C. Scott (Hanoi: NXB The Gioi – World Publishing House, 2000).
  • Beyond Hanoi: Local Government in Vietnam, co-edited with David G. Marr (Singapore and Copenhagen: ISEAS Publications and NIAS Press, 2004).

Selected articles and other writings[edit]

  • "A Critique of Raymond Aron's Theory of War and Prescriptions," International Studies Quarterly, 12 (December 1968): 419-442
  • "Additional Source Materials on Philippine Radical Movements," Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 3 (Summer-Fall 1971): 83-90.
  • "Peasant Society and Unrest Prior to the Huk Rebellion in the Philippines," Asian Studies, 9 (August 1971): 164-213.
  • "Politics of Survival: Peasant Responses to 'Progress' in Southeast Asia," Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 4 (September 1973): 241-268. Co-authored with James C. Scott.
  • "How Traditional Rural Patrons Lose Legitimacy: A Theory with Special Reference to Southeast Asia," Cultures et developpement, 5:3 (1973): 500-540. Co-authored with James C. Scott. Reprinted in Steffen W. Schmidt, et al. (eds.), Friends, Followers, and Factions: A Reader in Political Clientelism (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), pp. 439–457.
  • "The Philippines: Agrarian Conditions in Luzon Prior to Martial Law," Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 5 (September 1973): 36-40.
  • "Agrarian Conditions Since the Huk Rebellion: A Barrio in Central Luzon," in Kerkvliet, ed., Political Change in the Philippines: Studies of Local Politics Prior to Martial Law (Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii, 1974), pp. 1–76.
  • "All Show, No Go: Land Reform in the Philippines," The Nation, 11 May 1974, pp. 586–589.
  • Testimony about conditions in the Philippines, U.S. Senate, Subcommittee on Foreign Operations (24 May 1974), and House of Representatives, Subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs (5 June 1974). Printed in the Congressional Record, 120 (4 June 1974): S-9564-70.
  • "Land Reform in the Philippines Since the Marcos Coup," Pacific Affairs, 47 (Fall 1974): 286-304.
  • "Peasants and Marxists in Asia: A Review Article," Peasant Studies, 6 (October 1975): 7-11.
  • "Difference among Philippine Peasants: A Provincial Sample," Philippine Sociological Review, 27 (July 1979): 133-159. Co-authored with Werasit Sittitrai.
  • "Resources for Research on Local Philippine Society,” Philippine Studies Newsletter, 8 (October 1980): 3-9.
  • "Classes and Class Relations in a Philippine Village," Philippine Sociological Review, 28 (January–December 1980): 31-50.
  • "The Meaning of Martial Law in a Nueva Ecija Village, the Philippines," Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 14 (October–December 1982): 2-19.
  • "Possible Demise of the Marcos Regime," Crossroads: Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 1 (October 1983): 67-83.
  • "Documentary Methods: Review of Two Films," Pilipinas: A Journal of Philippine Studies, 5 (Fall 1985): 110-113.
  • "Everyday Resistance to Injustice in a Philippine Village," Journal of Peasant Studies, 13 (January 1986): 107-123; also in Scott and Kerkvliet, ed., Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance in Southeast Asia (London: Frank Cass, 1986).
  • "Patterns of Philippine Resistance and Rebellion, 1970-1986," Pilipinas: A Journal of Philippine Studies, 6 (Spring 1986): 35-52.
  • "Peasants and Agricultural Workers: Implications for United States Policy," in Carl Lande (ed.), Rebuilding a Nation: Philippine Challenges and American Policy (Washington: The Washington Institute, 1987), pp. 205–218.
  • "'We Are Being Oppressed by Those Already Well Off': Political Thought and Action of Wage Workers in Rural Central Luzon, the Philippines," in Michael Pinches and Salim Lakha, eds., Wage Labour and Social Change in Asia (Clayton, Victoria: Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University, 1988), pp. 67–92 (also Quezon City: New Day Press, 1992, pp. 68–94).
  • "Understanding Politics in a Rural Community During the Transition from Marcos to Aquino," in Kerkvliet and Mojares, eds., From Marcos to Aquino (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1991), pp. 226–46.
  • "The Transition from Marcos to Aquino," co-authored with Resil Mojares, in Kerkvliet and Mojares, eds., From Marcos to Aquino, pp. 1–12.
  • "Claiming the Land: Take-overs by Villagers in the Philippines with Comparisons to Indonesia, Peru, Portugal, and Russia," Journal of Peasant Studies 20 (April 1993): 459-493.
  • "State-Village Relations in Vietnam: Contested Cooperatives and Collectivization." Working Paper, Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash University, 1993. 28pp.
  • "Withdrawal and Resistance: the Political Significance of Food, Agriculture, and How People Lived During the Japanese Occupation in the Philippines," in Laurie Sears, ed., Autonomous Histories, Particular Truths: Essays in Honor of John Smail. (Madison: University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1993), 175-94. An earlier appeared in Bernd Martin and Alan Milward, eds., Agriculture and Food Supply in World War Two (West Germany: Scripta Mercaturae, 1985), pp. 297–316.
  • "Politics of Society in the Mid 1990s," in Ben Kerkvliet, ed., Dilemmas of Development: Vietnam Update 1994 (Canberra: Political and Social Change, Australian National University, 1995), pp. 5–44.
  • "Village-State Relations in Vietnam: The Effect of Everyday Politics on Decollectivization," Journal of Asian Studies, 54 (May 1995): 396-418.
  • "Rural Society and State Relations in Vietnam," in Kerkvliet and Porter, eds., Vietnam's Rural Transformation.
  • "Toward a More Comprehensive Analysis of Philippine Politics: Beyond the Patron-Client, Factional Framework," Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 26(Sept. 1995):401-19.
  • "Contemporary Philippine Leftist Politics in Historical Perspective," in Patricio Abinales, ed., The Revolution Falters: The Left in Philippine Politics after 1986 (Ithaca: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1996), pp. 9–27.
  • "Contested Meanings of Elections in the Philippines," in R. H. Taylor, ed., The Politics of Elections in Southeast Asia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, and Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1996), pp. 136–63.
  • "Partial Impressions of Society in Vietnam," in Adam Fforde, ed., Doi Moi: Ten Years after the 1986 Party Congress (Canberra: Dept. of Political and Social Change, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, 1997), pp. 47–79.
  • "Land Struggles and Land Regimes in the Philippines and Vietnam during the Twentieth Century," Wertheim Lecture (Amsterdam: Centre for Asian Studies Amsterdam, 1997), 40pp.
  • "Comparing the Chinese and Vietnamese Reforms: An Introduction," co-authored with Anita Chan and Jonathan Unger, The China Journal 40(July 1998):1-7.
  • "Agrarian Transformations in China and Vietnam," co-authored with Mark Selden, The China Journal 40 (July 1998):37-58.
  • "Land Regimes and State Strengths and Weaknesses in the Philippines and Vietnam," in Peter Dauvergne, ed., Weak and Strong States in Asia-Pacific Societies (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1998), pp. 158–174.
  • “Wobbly Foundations: Building Co-operatives in Rural Vietnam,” Southeast Asia Research 6 (November 1998):193-251.
  • “Comparing Vietnam and China,” co-authored with Anita Chan, Benedict Kerkvliet, and Jonathan Unger, in our edited book Transforming Asian Socialism: China and Vietnam Compared (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1999), pp. 1–14.
  • “Accelerating Cooperatives in Rural Vietnam, 1955-1961,” in Bernhard Dahm and Vincent J. H. Hauben, eds., Vietnamese Villages in Transition (Passau: Department of Southeast Asian Studies, Passau University, 1999), pp. 53–88.
  • “Dialogical Law Making and Implementation in Vietnam,” in Alice Tay, ed., East Asia, Human Rights, Nation Building and Trade (Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 1999), pp. 372–400.
  • “Advocating Vietnam Studies: Phan Huy Le and the Center for Vietnam Studies and Cultural Exchange,” in Philippe Papin and John Kleinen, eds., Liber Amirorum: Melanges offerts au Professeur Phan Huy Le (Hanoi: NXB Thanh Nien, 1999), pp. 103–17.
  • “Political Ironies in the Philippines,” forward for book by Jennifer Conroy Franco, Campaigning for Democracy: Grassroots Citizenship Movements, Less-The-Democratic Elections, and Regime Transition in the Philippines (Quezon City: Institute for Popular Democracy, 2000), pp.xv-xxii (New York: Routledge, 2001), pp.xxi-xxiv.
  • “Analyzing the State in Vietnam,” Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 16:2 (2001): 179-86.
  • “An Approach for Analyzing State-Society Relations in Vietnam,” Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia 16:2 (2001): 238-78.
  • “Reverberations of Freedom in the Philippines and Vietnam,” in Robert Taylor, ed., Freedom in Africa and Asia (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2002), pp. 182–213, 297-308.
  • “Agrarian Policy Renovation in Vietnam from the Bottom Up,” Taiwan Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 1 (October 2004): 19-36.
  • “Surveying Local Government and Authority in Contemporary Vietnam,” in Benedict J. Tria Kerkvliet and David G. Marr, eds., Beyond Hanoi: Local Government in Vietnam (Singapore and Copenhagen: ISEAS Publications and NIAS Press, 2004), pp. 1–27.
  • “Politics in Vietnam’s Red River Delta in the 1970s-1980s (and Why it is Relevant to the 2000s),” in Edwina Palmer, ed., Asian Futures, Asian Traditions (Kent: Global Oriental, 2005), pp. 143–56.
  • “Political Expectations and Democracy in the Philippines and Vietnam,” Philippine Political Science Journal, 26 (no. 49, 2005): 1-26.
  • “Agricultural Land in Vietnam: Markets Tempered by Family, Community and Socialist Practices,” Journal of Agrarian Change 6 (July 2006): 285-305.
  • “In-Depth Research and Knowledge Accumulation About Agrarian Politics in Southeast Asia,” in Erik Martinez Kuhonta, Dan Slater, and Tuong Vu, eds., Southeast Asia in Political Science: Theory, Region, and Qualitative Analysis (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), 129-43.
  • “Forms of Engagement between State Agencies & Civil Society Organizations in Vietnam,” co-written with Nguyễn Quang A and Bạch Tân Sinh. Prepared for the VUFO-NGO Resource Centre, Hanoi, December 2008 (63 pp.).
  • “Everyday Politics in Peasant Societies (and Ours),” Journal of Peasant Studies, 36:1 (2009): 227-43. Reprinted in Critical Perspectives in Rural Development Studies, pp. 215-31, edited by Saturnino M. Borras Jr. (London: Routledge, 2010).
  • “Southeast Asia,” in R.A.W. Rhodes, ed., The Australian Study of Politics (England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 257-67.
  • “Workers’ Protests in Contemporary Vietnam (with Some Comparisons to those in the Pre-1975 South),” Journal of Vietnamese Studies, 5:1 (2010): 162-204. Republished with some revisions as “Workers’ Protests in Contemporary Vietnam,” in Labour in Vietnam, edited by Anita Chan (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2011), 160-210.
  • “Governance, Development, and the Responsive-Repressive State in Vietnam,” Forum for Development Studies 37 (March 2010): 33-60.
  • “A Different View of Insurgencies,” in In Search of a Human Face: 15 Years of Knowledge Building for Human Development in the Philippines (Quezon City: Human Development Network, 2010), 268-79.
  • “Government Repression and Toleration in Contemporary Vietnam,” Working Paper 119, Southeast Asia Research Centre, City University of Hong Kong, 2012.

External links[edit]