Beyond 'propaganda': Images and the moral citizen in late-socialist Vietnam
Modern Asian Studies
Cambridge University Press
MetadataShow full item record
Bayly, S. (2020). Beyond 'propaganda': Images and the moral citizen in late-socialist Vietnam. Modern Asian Studies, 54 (5), 1526-1595. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X19000222
This article forges connections between two vibrant areas of current research within and beyond Asian studies: visual anthropology and the anthropology of morality and ethics. Its focus is on achieving moral citizenship as represented in Vietnam's visually spectacular capital, Hanoi, and on images as active and morally compelling, not mere reflections of the challenges of late-socialist marketisation. The case of Vietnam compares intriguingly with other contexts where visuality has been fruitfully explored, including India and post-socialist Eurasia. The question asked is how images, both personal and official, can work either to provide or deny the viewer a quality of moral agency which they feel to be their due. The answer is found in the intertwining of silence and speech in relation to images. This includes what is said and unsaid in regard to public iconography, including memorial statuary and state message posters. It is proposed that the visuality of the urban streetspace is a continuum involving significant interaction with the intimacies of home and family image use. The article also seeks to add to our methodological ideas about treating fieldwork photographs as a basis for interaction with interlocutors, hence as active research tools rather than mere adjuncts to observation and analysis.
Fieldwork was funded by the British Academy (Grant Ref. SG163079). I also gratefully acknowledge past support under ESRC award RES-000-22-4632 for a joint project with Prof. Long on ‘The Social Life of Achievement in Indonesia and Vietnam,’ and prior awards from the Cambridge University Evans Fund and CHRG scheme, and the British Academy/ASEASUK.
British Academy (SG163079)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0026749X19000222
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/292932
All rights reserved