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.

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