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.
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.