A Civil Society Conundrum: Gaining legitimacy with stakeholders as a Vietnamese NGO working with gender and sexuality

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för strategisk kommunikation

Abstract: Questions concerning sexuality and gender have only recently become the focus of social research and advocacy in Vietnam. Sexuality and gender are taboo subjects and non-heterosexual and trans persons often face discrimination, stigmatization or invisibility and civil society is in certain respects restricted. The purpose of the following thesis is therefore to investigate how a Vietnamese non-governmental organization working to increase the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans persons in Vietnam legitimizes itself in its communication with stakeholders. Interviews with the organization’s staff and critical discourse analysis of written material have been used as methods of analysis. The analysis suggests that the organization’s use of discourses prevalent in the mainstream of civil society and emphasis on its role as expert on its area of work contributes to its legitimacy with donors, while emphasis on scientific discourse might be a way of navigating taboo-laden subjects in relation to mass media.

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