Accepted Paper:

Migration recycled: Vietkieu and the construction of the Vietnamese modernity  


Yuk Wah Chan (City University, Hong Kong)
Thu Tran Thi Le (Ha Noi National University of Education)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines the return Vietnamese diaspora regarding the diverse interactions between the state and nationals with return migrants and takes such interactive dynamics as a social space for negotiating modernity.

Paper long abstract:

In an age of globalization and migration, not only is the migrant identity often constructed and reconstructed in the shifting domains of cultural dynamics, the identity of the nation-state is also diversely affected with the presence of large communities of transnational subjects and return migrants. The Vietnamese diaspora has received increasing scholarly attention in recent years. But many of these previous studies focus on the Vietnamese migrants living abroad, research on return migrants is still rare. Since the mid 1990s, the odessey of the Vietkieu (overseas Vietnamese) has been swiftly 'recycled' with hundreds of thousands of them returning 'home' to work and invest.

This paper argues that the return Vietnamese diaspora has created a new social platform for discursive reconstruction of the Vietnamese past and present and posed new questions on 'boundary' making related to histories, patriotism, immigration policies, and transnationality. Much of the rhetorical and ideological embellishment within the shifting official views towards the Vietkieu 'patriots' and the public opinions of the changing roles of Vietkieu have forced the nation as a whole to adopt endemic strategies in accommodating different layers of cultural and identity politics which in turn contribute to the building of the Vietnamese modernity.

Panel W062
Challenges of local and regional cultural politics in Southeast Asia