Alterations in the spending habits of country people constitute one thread in the history of Vietnamese society in the 1960s. Some welcomed and others objected to mass-produced consumer goods and especially to new forms of dress. The ensuing controversy played out amidst the violent crosscurrents of the Vietnam War and led to dissension within the ranks of the National Liberation Front and in the Sài Gòn milieu. The last word belongs to villagers who, in trying to sort out the meanings of new commodities, were trying to decide what sort of future they wished for their country.
“Modern and Strange Things”: Peasants and Mass Consumer Goods in the Mekong Delta
David Hunt is Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts/Boston. He is the author of Parents and Children in History (Basic Books, 1970), co-editor (with Jayne Werner) and contributor to The American War in Vietnam (Cornell Southeast Asia Program, 1993), and has published essays on peasants and revolutions in France and elsewhere and on the works of Theda Skocpol, James Scott, Eric Wolf, and others. His book, Vietnam’s Southern Revolution: From Peasant Insurrection to Total War appeared in 2009 (University of Massachusetts Press). Politics and Society featured his article “Dirty Wars: Counter-Insurgency in Vietnam and Today” in 2010.
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David Hunt; “Modern and Strange Things”: Peasants and Mass Consumer Goods in the Mekong Delta. Journal of Vietnamese Studies 1 May 2014; 9 (1): 36–61. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/vs.2014.9.1.36
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