This paper explores the charitable work of Buddhist women who work as petty traders in Hồ Chí Minh City. By focusing on the social interaction between givers and recipients, it examines the traders’ class identity, their perception of social stratification, and their relationship with the state. Charitable work reveals the petty traders’ negotiations with the state and with other social groups to define their moral and social status in Vietnam’s society. These negotiations contribute to their self-identification as a moral social class and to their perception of trade as ethical labor.
Doing Bodhisattva’s Work: Charity, Class, and Selfhood of Petty Traders in Hồ Chí Minh City
Le Hoang Anh Thu is an assistant professor at College of Asia Pacific Studies, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University. This paper was part of the author’s PhD project at the Australian National University. The author is grateful to Professor Philip Taylor for his advice during the process of writing the PhD thesis. The author completed it with support from Grant-in-Aid for Early-Career Scientists, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
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Le Hoang Anh Thu; Doing Bodhisattva’s Work: Charity, Class, and Selfhood of Petty Traders in Hồ Chí Minh City. Journal of Vietnamese Studies 30 October 2020; 15 (4): 4–32. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/vs.2020.15.4.4
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