1st Edition

Consuming Urban Culture in Contemporary Vietnam

Edited By Lisa Drummond, Mandy Thomas Copyright 2003

    Vietnam is currently undergoing a metamorphosis from a relatively closed society with a centrally planned economy, to a rapidly urbanising one with a global outlook. These changes have been the catalyst for an exciting ferment of activity in popular culture. This volume contains contributions from scholars engaged in the most up-to-date social research in Vietnam, as well as some of Vietnam's most popular cultural producers who are forging new ways of imagining the present whilst at the same time engaging actively in reinterpreting the past. The diverse ways that Vietnam is culturally and socially negotiating the future are examined as the book addresses issues of indigenisation of cultural influences, ambivalence surrounding change, and the consistent blurring of boundaries between informal, non-state cultural activities and formal institutional structures in the evolution of a civil society in Vietnam.

    Contents; Acknowledgements; List of Contributors; Introduction; 1 Introduction, Mandy Thomas and Lisa Drummond; The background to recent changes; 2 Political Developments in Vietnam: the rise and demise of Le Kha Phieu, 1997-2001, Carl Thayer; 3 Culture and Economy: dyed in the wool tigers?, Adam Fforde; 4 The Politics of the Greenback: the interaction between the formal and black markets in Ho Chi Minh City, Martin Gainsborough; Everyday life and cultural change in contemporary Vietnam; 5 Footpath Trading: the dynamics of one Hanoi neighbourhood, Peter Higgs; 6 Speaking Pictures: biem hoa or satirical cartoons on government corruption and popular political thought in contemporary Vietnam, Thuy Pham; 7 'Bia Om' and Karaoke: HIV and everyday life in urban Vietnam, Stephen McNally; Vietnamese popular culture; 8 Pilgrims and Pleasure Seekers, Alexander Soucy; 9 'Doi Moi' and cultural identity in Ho Chi Minh City's 'cai luong' opera, Philip Taylor; 10 Popular television and images of urban life, Lisa Drummond; 11 Out of Control: emergent cultural landscapes and political change in urban Vietnam, Mandy Thomas; The view from within: the changing world of Vietnamese cultural practitioners; 12 Representations of Doi moi and Cultural Change in Vietnamese Cinema, Dang Nhat Minh and Thuy Pham; 13 Let's Talk about Love: Depictions of Love and Marriage in Contemporary Vietnamese Short Fiction, Phan Thi Vang Anh and Thuy Phamq; 14 Doi moi and the crisis in Vietnamese dance, Cheryl Stock.


    Lisa Drummond is an Assistant Professor in Urban Studies at York University in Toronto. Her doctoral research in geography at the Australian National University was on everyday life and social change in urban Vietnam. Lisa has worked in Vietnam since 1991 and lived there for 6 years, undertaking research as well as being employed on development projects with bilateral and multilateral donors and NGOs. Her earlier research was on women in the informal sector in Hanoi; her most recent work is on the Vietnamese state's programme of social modernization and transformations in urban society.

    Mandy Thomas, an anthropologist, is a research fellow and Deputy Director of the Institute for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney. She has published widely on the overseas Vietnamese communities in Australia, including the book 'Dreams in the Shadows: Vietnamese-Australian lives in transition' (Allen and Unwin 1999). She has recently been researching and writing about Vietnamese popular cultural movements such as celebrity-watching and crowd formation and has also been involved in development consultancy projects in Vietnam.