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Reverend J M GainsboroughB.A.(Bristol), MA, M.Sc., Ph.D.(Lond.)

Professor of Development Politics

Martin Gainsborough

Reverend J M GainsboroughB.A.(Bristol), MA, M.Sc., Ph.D.(Lond.)

Professor of Development Politics

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Research interests

I have research interests in political theology, environmental and development politics.  I have country expertise on Vietnam.  I am particularly interested in  in bringing theological perspectives to bear in thinking about the problems of politics and development. 

I did graduate study at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, specialising on South East Asia.  In time, this took me to Vietnam which formed the basis of my PhD, was central to my early career, and led to my first book on that country (Changing Political Economy of Vietnam:  The Case of Ho Chi Minh City, Routledge, 2001).  The book, which debunks many of the myths surrounding what constitutes ‘reform’ in that setting, was republished in paperback in 2015 and has become something of a classic.

After my PhD I continued to conduct field work on Vietnam, publishing in areas such as local politics, corruption, state enterprise reform, the politics of aid, and political change.  I also worked as a consultant to international business and the donor aid community, including a secondment at the United Nations Development Programme in Hanoi in 2005-06.  This work laid the foundation for my second book on Vietnam (Vietnam:  Rethinking the State, Zed Books, 2010).

Since this book was published, I have broadened my research interests beyond an exclusive Vietnam focus.  This in part reflects my changed circumstances and the emergence of my theological interests.   I now combine my academic work with the post of Canon Theologian at Bristol Cathedral where I am responsible for its social justice work.  Prior to this, I spent six years as curate and then priest-in-charge of an inner city parish.  This was hugely influential in recasting my research interests not least in broadening my thinking about development to take in issues of poverty and marginality in the global north. 

I am presently working on projects relating to Vietnam politics, environmental politics, and political theology.

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