Introduction: An Overture to New Ethnographic Research on Connection and Disconnection in Vietnam

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Connections are the source of life in Vietnam. The tangible and intangible ties that bind Vietnamese people to their families and compatriots are characteristically rich and are constitutive of self, community, and nation. In traditional Vietnam, the person was enmeshed in relations (quan hệ) of hierarchy and reciprocity that structured family life and the thicket of mutual exchanges that typified the traditional village. The Vietnamese polity has long drawn metaphorically on relations of this kind, as rulers have utilised idioms of kinship and debt to secure legitimacy, command loyalty, and promote social cohesion. History has been made by people who were able to inspire a following and call on the resources of their entourage to repel an enemy or found new settlements and alliances. Vietnamese from all walks of life have long cultivated social relationships to deal with the authorities, form martial unions, make a living, and gain promotion. As social certitudes have dissolved and been recast by the experience of revolution, war, and market-based global integration, one constant has been the role played by such relationships. As the nation has changed, connections have remained central to what it means to be Vietnamese.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationConnected and Disconnected in Viet Nam: Remaking Social Relations in a Post-socialist Nation
    EditorsPhilip Taylor
    Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
    PublisherANU Press
    ISBN (Print)9781925022926
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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