The peace agreements that were signed in May 2004 may imply the end of the war in South Sudan. In order to assess the likelihood of success, one has to discuss the changes after the Islamists were brought to power in 1989 by a military coup. Of special interest are the impacts of their internal divisions, the emergence of oil money as significant revenues for the State and the consequences of 9/11 in the Middle East. Moreover, difficulties to implement the agreements in South Sudan should not be underplayed. The underdevelopment of this region, the existence of militias still supported by Khartoum and the history of the civil war among Southern Sudanese could give room to bitter divisions and proxy wars involving Khartoum’s government. The current crisis in Darfur reflects the weaknesses of the peace process despite a strong international involvement. Structural issues such as citizenship have not been addressed and this very crisis shows how little the regime intends to reform itself.

Matthieu Salomon

Since the 1980s – and, more symbolically, since the 6th Communist party Congress – Vietnam has been engaged in reform, which is referred to as “dôi moi”, i.e. renewal. While their aim is, first and foremost, to change the rules governing economic activity, these reforms have, since the 1990s, also been associated with political, institutional and legal change. Influenced, on the one hand, by endogenous constraints arising out of the necessary adaptation of the politico-legal environment and of the evolution of the power-legitimation processes and, on the other hand, by exogenous constraints born of the desire for integration into the international community and economy, the discourse of the Vietnamese authorities and the country’s fundamental political texts have both been modified. It seems undeniable that, despite its weightiness and areas of permanence, the Vietnamese politico-legal system is, de facto, slowly evolving and becoming “normalised”. The intention here is not to suggest that Vietnam is undergoing a “democratic transition” bringing it closer to a western model of reference. The aim of the regime may be defined thus: “to consolidate the single-party system while satisfying the demands for modernisation”. By means of an analysis of the system of people’s assemblies elected by the population and of the legal – i.e. juridical and judicial – system, this study attempts to provide an insight into the regime’s capacity for politico-legal innovation and, notably, into its capacity to structure new arenas for debate. It examines the complex evolutions which have affected the rules and players of this too-often-neglected aspect of a changing Vietnam.

Florence Padovani

The study of the population movements caused by the major Chinese hydraulic projects reveals the true extent of the change which has come about in relations between the State and society in China. The construction of the Three Gorges dam – which led to considerable controversy both within China and beyond – is a prime case in point. As well as its social consequences, this infrastructure project has ramifications in the political, economic and legal domains, notably because of the forced migrations which it has entailed. The manner in which this question has been managed – both by central government, which planned the project, and by the provincial governments, which had to manage time constraints and financial and human resources at first hand – illustrates the extent to which the country has moved away from the authoritarian approach which had currency under the rule of Chairman Mao. The study of the project provides insights into the manner in which the authorities on the ground actually applied the directives received from the Centre, and into the difficulty encountered by the rulers in Beijing in ensuring that their centralised vision of the new China holds sway. The way in which the sensitive issue of forced migrations has been managed highlights what is at stake in the disputes between the various players, i.e. officials in the many ministries concerned, local and provincial authorities, displaced populations and host populations. The specific modes of justification employed by each group provide pointers towards an understanding of the complexity of China's new "civil society".

Enlargement today is a priority on the European agenda. Examining Portugal and Greece from a comparative perspective with respect to Poland, this Study analyzes the original and specific paths each of these national configurations have taken as regards administrative and institutional changes, particularly through the regional dimension, policy reorientations and modes of government. Given the large body of acquis communautaire that must be integrated, the nature of Commission involvement and the highly regulatory nature of European directives, this dimension emerges as the most significant in the process of Europeanization: public administration acts as a filter in this dynamic and nation-states are paradoxically strengthened by European integration. This comparison is an opportunity to underscore the importance of innovations and the singularity of modes of government, suggesting that certain arrangements put into practice in cohesion countries may provide sources of inspiration for the new entrants, which are faced with similar problems of administrative competence, bureaucratic blockages and political and state legacies that are remote from the European model of public administration, civil service organization and rules. With the effect of European constraints, a threefold dynamic is at work: a dynamic of delegation, or privatization, through the creation of agencies, offices and institutes, a dynamic of politicized (re)centralization, and a dynamic of political, institutional and social innovation. Thus components of these models are constantly borrowed and reshaped, hybrid constructions are formed and configurations take shape that are no less European than what can be found in the “heart” of Europe.

Christian Milelli

The « new economy » in South Korea rhymes with the Internet. In 2003, the “land of morning calm” has actually become the most connected country in the world. The present study tackles this phenomenon from a number of angles. The Internet is not only considered as a physical network but a lever of transformation of the country’s economic and social life. Although the role of the state has been decisive and remains focal, it is not enough to explain the extreme rapidity with which the new electronic medium spread, which is due to a broad range of causes. The Korean experience differs from former ones in that it extends well beyond the market sphere (e-commerce) to areas such as education, volunteer associations and even politics. The emergence of a national dimension constitutes another characteristic that at first seems paradoxical, since the Internet is so universal in scope. Yet observation of the evolution of Internet traffic on the national level confirms this trend. South Korea is far from an exceptional case in Asia, but the country has taken the lead over its neighbors, becoming a new “model.” Beyond these singular features, the Korean experience in the use of the Internet again demonstrates that a global “information revolution” – in other words, a process that is quickly reshaping the material bases of an entire society – is underway.

Emmanuelle Le Texier

Since the early nineteen-eighties, the new political visibility of Latinos has been referred to as the awakening of a “sleeping giant.” Their increased political expression, be it in the form of protest action during civil rights movements or electoral participation, marks a turning point in the integration of Hispanics in the American public sphere. With a growing number of voters, candidates and elected officials, Latinos have emerged on the political scene. The increasingly influential role of pan-ethnic interest groups and new opportunities for political participation created by the development of transnational networks have contributed to the elaboration of this new participative framework. Yet their electoral and political influence remains below the demographic, economic, social and cultural importance of these some 35 million individuals who make up over 12 percent of the U.S. population. Most of the minority groups still encounter major obstacles to political access. These are partly structural, but also internal to the group: not only is it divided over domestic or foreign issues, it is fragmented by national origin, status and generation. The singular nature of immigration from Latin America, the continuity of migratory flows and their diversity, all constantly rekindle divergences over what strategy Latinos should adopt for participating in the public debate. They also highlight the fictional, both functional and dysfunction, nature of ethnic categorization in the United States. The ethnic card may be an instrument of participation, but it can also prove to seriously fetter minorities’ entry into politics.

Ivan Crouzel

In South Africa, the transition negotiated in order to build a post-apartheid political order has brought about a deep-seated transformation of the state. A central issue of this radical reform had to do with the territorial arrangement of the new state. Constitutional negotiations resulted in a hybrid federal type of system that distinctly reinforced the power of local government, particularly to counterbalance that of the nine provinces. At the same time, a smoother form of intergovernmental relations was introduced with the concept of “cooperative government.” In contrast to the centralized system that held sway under apartheid, local government has been strengthened by a new constitutional status, which in particular guarantees an “equitable share” of the national revenue. It also ensures that municipalities are represented nationally through intergovernmental structures involving the participation of local governments. The new space of autonomization that local governments henceforth enjoy nevertheless comes up against the centralizing tendencies of intergovernmental relations. In South Africa, cooperative government has turned out to be a means of consolidating national power. The configuration of the South African political party system also plays up this rationale. The dominant position of the ANC at every level of government thus has a centralizing effect on the management of center-periphery relations. Yet this dynamic is partly the result of a centralization “by default” due to the institutional weakness of sub-national governments. The use local governments make of the new constitutional space granted to them greatly depends on their own capacities, thus producing an asymmetrical dynamic of autonomization. Without their own resources, rural municipalities remain highly dependent on the central government. On the contrary, metropolitan areas manage to strengthen their power and position themselves as competitors with certain provinces, thus becoming central actors in intergovernmental relations.

Luisa Palacios

This paper studies the institutional transformation of Latin America’s oil sector. It discusses specific policy choices and the timing of reforms in this industry. Latin American countries present different models of openness and energy-sector dynamics, and allow for an analysis of the liberalization process from a range of points of view: that of an importer (Brazil), of a historically self-sufficient country (Argentina) and of oil exporters (Mexico and Venezuela). The degree of dependence on oil revenues has proven in general to be negatively correlated with the level of openness of the oil sector. That is, countries more dependent on their oil sector for foreign and fiscal revenues tend to be less liberalized and open to private investment. This principle also holds true in Latin America: oil importers and self-sufficient countries like Argentina, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil indeed have oil industries that are relatively more open to private sector participation than those of the oil exporters in the region (Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico). However, different levels of openness exist within these general categories of importers and exporters. This paper will further argue that differences among countries in the same category are a function of the strategic and financial position prior to reform of their respective National Oil Companies (NOC), which is in turn related to the institutional evolution of the oil industries in these countries.