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“I Try to be Modern” – Identity Formation Between Tradition and Modernity Among Young Women in Hanoi

Wallengren, Alma LU (2017) SIMV24 20171
Graduate School
Master of Science in Development Studies
Department of Human Geography
Abstract
Since 1986, the Vietnamese socialist state has gradually opened towards the global market. Subsequently, socialist modernity may increasingly be outrivaled by the individualistic culture associated with global capitalism which is now gaining ground in Vietnam, especially among the urban middle-class who can easily access it. Proceeding from a post-colonial feminist framework, this thesis aims to investigate how development and globalization affect identity formation in Vietnam. This issue is approached by looking at how young women are navigating between competing discourses, through exploring how their perceptions of the women’s role are influenced by constructions of “modernity” and “tradition”. The empirical analysis is founded upon... (More)
Since 1986, the Vietnamese socialist state has gradually opened towards the global market. Subsequently, socialist modernity may increasingly be outrivaled by the individualistic culture associated with global capitalism which is now gaining ground in Vietnam, especially among the urban middle-class who can easily access it. Proceeding from a post-colonial feminist framework, this thesis aims to investigate how development and globalization affect identity formation in Vietnam. This issue is approached by looking at how young women are navigating between competing discourses, through exploring how their perceptions of the women’s role are influenced by constructions of “modernity” and “tradition”. The empirical analysis is founded upon semi-structured interviews with young unmarried and university educated women living in Hanoi. The study has a constructivist grounded theory approach, thus the empirical material has continuously been guiding the direction of the research.

The findings show that the participants understand modernity as related to individualism, development and globalization. Simultaneously, tradition is understood as an obstacle to development, in line with colonial discourse. This may be considered problematic since the participants are identifying as both modern and traditional, hence regards one part of their identity as unsolicited within the globalized capitalist modernity. This notion illustrates that the colonial constructions which are enforced in contemporary development discourse are interfering with the participants’ understanding of their role and possibilities. However, identity formation between contrasting discourses may open a space for agency and resistance, as the women have the possibility to renegotiate their respective subject-positions through accessing a variety of discourses and thereby create new understandings of what “modernity” might be. (Less)
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author
Wallengren, Alma LU
supervisor
organization
course
SIMV24 20171
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Modernity, Globalization, Development, Post-colonialism, Vietnam, Identity, Women’s Role
language
English
id
8911614
date added to LUP
2017-07-03 13:04:30
date last changed
2017-07-03 13:04:30
@misc{8911614,
  abstract     = {Since 1986, the Vietnamese socialist state has gradually opened towards the global market. Subsequently, socialist modernity may increasingly be outrivaled by the individualistic culture associated with global capitalism which is now gaining ground in Vietnam, especially among the urban middle-class who can easily access it. Proceeding from a post-colonial feminist framework, this thesis aims to investigate how development and globalization affect identity formation in Vietnam. This issue is approached by looking at how young women are navigating between competing discourses, through exploring how their perceptions of the women’s role are influenced by constructions of “modernity” and “tradition”. The empirical analysis is founded upon semi-structured interviews with young unmarried and university educated women living in Hanoi. The study has a constructivist grounded theory approach, thus the empirical material has continuously been guiding the direction of the research. 

The findings show that the participants understand modernity as related to individualism, development and globalization. Simultaneously, tradition is understood as an obstacle to development, in line with colonial discourse. This may be considered problematic since the participants are identifying as both modern and traditional, hence regards one part of their identity as unsolicited within the globalized capitalist modernity. This notion illustrates that the colonial constructions which are enforced in contemporary development discourse are interfering with the participants’ understanding of their role and possibilities. However, identity formation between contrasting discourses may open a space for agency and resistance, as the women have the possibility to renegotiate their respective subject-positions through accessing a variety of discourses and thereby create new understandings of what “modernity” might be.},
  author       = {Wallengren, Alma},
  keyword      = {Modernity,Globalization,Development,Post-colonialism,Vietnam,Identity,Women’s Role},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {“I Try to be Modern” – Identity Formation Between Tradition and Modernity Among Young Women in Hanoi},
  year         = {2017},
}