Architects of a Discourse?
Vietnamese are fond of home, and have been for a long time. This came to my attention in two parallel contexts. One was the frequency with which Vietnamese people, urban as well as rural, like to speak of their que huong (which translates roughly as home village) even when they have long lived far from that place. The other was the extent to which colonial a dministrators in the 1920s and 1930s explained the failure of their migration programs in terms of rural Vietnamese psychology. Phrases like “the Vietnamese peasant is attached to his native village” may be found throughout the literature of the period. The frequency of these statements lends the idea of que huong the power of a discourse. A discourse, moreover, in a relationship of apparent paradox with reality. For centuries and increasingly today Vietnamese have shown a tendency to leave home and migrate. But even among the Vietnamese living overseas, the idea of ‘home’ exerts a powerful influence.
KeywordsMigration Assimilation Expense Burial Phan
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