Consuming doi moi: Development and middle class consumption in Vietnam

Arve Hansen

Abstract


Since doi moi, Vietnam has undergone a variety of social and economic transformations. Among the most obvious are found in the realm of consumption. The new openness to international trade and foreign investments has radically increased the availability of goods. And new opportunities for income have led to increased purchasing power in most social strata, although to very different extents. High-consuming urban middle classes are emerging rapidly-Vietnam’s middle class is indeed considered the fastest growing in Southeast Asia-symbolising economic progress and modernisation on the one hand and growing inequalities and environmental unsustainability on the other. These changes are reflected in surging consumption of a wide variety of goods, from household appliances and food items to vehicles and luxury products. This paper approaches the new ‘socialist consumer classes’ partly through the particular political-economic contexts that have fostered them, but mainly through the consumption patterns and consumer culture that define them. Combining secondary statistical data with insights from ethnographic fieldwork, the paper discusses the drivers of changing consumption patterns and investigates the new roles of goods in everyday middle-class practices in Hanoi, in turn using consumption as a lens to analyse post-doi moi society.

Received 2nd April 2017; Revised 25th April 2017; Accepted 29th April  2017



Keywords


Middle class; consumption; practice theory; doi moi; Vietnam; development.

Full Text:

 Subscribers Only

References


Bélanger, D., Drummond, L. B. W., & Nguyen-Marshall, V. 2012. Introduction: Who Are the Urban Middle Class in Vietnam? In V. Nguyen-Marshall, L. B. W. Drummond, & D. Bélanger (Eds.), The Reinvention of Distinction: Modernity and the Middle Class in Urban Vietnam. Dordrecht: Springer

Beresford, M. 2008. "Doi Moi in review: The challenges of building market socialism in Vietnam". Journal of Contemporary Asia, 38 (2), 221-243.

Birdsall, N. 2014. Who You Callin’ Middle Class? A Plea to the Development Community. Retrieved from

http://www.cgdev.org/blog/who-you-callin%E2%80%99-middle-class-plea-development-community

Bourdieu, P. 1984. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Broz, L., & Habeck, J. O. 2015. Siberian Automobility Boom: From the Joy of Destination to the Joy of Driving There. Mobilities, 10 (4), 552-570.

doi:10.1080/17450101.2015.1059029

Chen, J. 2013. A Middle Class without Democracy: Economic Growth and Prospects for Democratization in China. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dadush, U., & Ali, S. 2012. In search of the global middle class: A new index. Washington DC: Brookings Institution.

Dicken, P. 2015. Global shift: mapping the changing contours of the world economy. Los Angeles: Sage.

Douglas, M., & Isherwood, B. 1979. The world of goods. New York: Basic Books.

Drummond, L. and Rydstrom, H. 2004. Gender Practices in Contemporary Vietnam. Copenhagen: NIAS Press.

Gainsborough, M. 2010. Vietnam: Rethinking the state. London: Zed Books.

Giddens, A. 1991. Modernity and self-identity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Guilmoto, C. Z., & de Loenzien, M. 2015. Emerging, transitory or residual? One-person households in Viet Nam. Demographic Research, 32, 1147-1176.

Gram-Hanssen, K. 2011. "Understanding change and continuity in residential energy consumption". Journal of Consumer Culture, 11 (1), 61-78.

Gregson, N., Metcalfe, A., & Crewe, L. 2009. "Practices of Object Maintenance and Repair: How consumers attend to consumer objects within the home". Journal of Consumer Culture, 9 (2), 248-272.

Gronow, J., & Warde, A. 2001. Ordinary consumption. London: Routledge.

Hansen, A. 2016a. Capitalist transition of wheels: Development, consumption and motorised mobility in Hanoi, PhD thesis, University of Oslo. Available online:

https://www.duo.uio.no/handle/10852/52717

Hansen, A. 2016b. Hanoi on Wheels: Emerging automobility in the land of the motorbike. Mobilities. doi:

1080/17450101.2016.1156425

Hansen, A. 2016c. Driving Development? The Problems and Promises of the Car in Vietnam. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 45 (4), 551-569.

Hansen, A., & Wethal, U. 2015. Emerging Economies and Challenges to Sustainability. In A. Hansen & U. Wethal (Eds.), Emerging Economies and Challenges to Sustainability: Theories, Strategies, Local Realities. London and New York: Routledge.

Hansen, A. 2015a. The best of both worlds? The power and pitfalls of Vietnam's development model. In A. Hansen & U. Wethal (Eds.), Emerging Economies and Challenges to Sustainability: Theories, Strategies, Local Realities. London and New York: Routledge.

Hansen, A. 2015b. "Transport in transition: Doi moi and the consumption of cars and motorbikes in Hanoi". Journal of Consumer Culture. doi:10.1177/1469540515602301

Hansen, A. 2015c. Motorbike Madness? Development and Two-Wheeled Mobility in Hanoi. Asia in Focus, 2, 5-13.

Hansen, A. 2017. Doi moi on two and four wheels: capitalist development and motorised mobility in

Vietnam, In A. Hansen & K.B. Nielsen (Eds.), Cars, Automobility and Development in Asia: Wheels of change. London: Routledge

Huong Le Thu. 2015. The Middle Class in Hanoi: Vulnerability and Concerns. ISEAS Perspective # 8, Singapore: ISEAS.

JDPR [Joint Development Partner Report] (2012). Vietnam Development Report 2012: Market Economy for a Middle-Income Vietnam. Hanoi: World Bank.

Kharas, H., & Gertz, G. 2010. The New Global Middle Class: A Cross-Over from West to East. In C. Li (Ed.), China's Emerging Middle Class: Beyond Economic Transformation. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Krishna, A., & Bajpai, D. 2015. Layers in Globalising Society and the New Middle Class in India. Economic and Political Weekly, L (5), 69-77.

Li, C. 2010. Introduction: The Rise of the Middle Class in the Middle Kingdom. In C. Li (Ed.), China's emerging middle class: Beyond economic transformation. Washington, D.C: Brookings Institution Press.

Malesky, E. and London, J. 2014. ‘The Political Economy of Development in China and Vietnam’. Annual Review of Political Science, 17, 395-419.

Masina, P. 2006. Vietnam's development strategies. Oxon UK ; New York: Routledge.

Masina, P. 2012. Vietnam between Developmental State and Neoliberalism: The Case of the Industrial Sector. In C. Kyung-Sup, B. Fine, & L. Weiss (Eds.), Developmental Politics in Transition: The Neoliberal Era and Beyond. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

McNeill, D., & Wilhite, H. 2015. Making sense of sustainable development in a changing world. In A. Hansen & U. Wethal (Eds.), Emerging Economies and Challenges to Sustainability: Theories, Strategies, Local Realities. London and New York: Routledge.

Myrvang, C. 2009. Forbruksagentene: Slik vekket de kjøpelysten. Oslo: Pax Forlag.

Notar, B. 2017. Car Crazy: The Rise of Car Culture in China. In A. Hansen & K.B. Nielsen (Eds.), Cars, Automobility and Development in Asia: Wheels of change. London: Routledge.

OICA 2014. Vehicles in use.

http://www.oica.net/category/vehicles-in-use/

Sahakian, M., & Wilhite, H. 2014. "Making practice theory more practicable: Towards more sustainable forms of consumption". Journal of Consumer Culture, 14 (1), 25-44.

Saigoneer. 2017. ‘Vietnam has world’s second fastes growing car market’.

http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-news/9375-vietnam-has-world-s-second-fastest-growing-car-market

Sanne, C. 2002. Willing consumers-or locked-in? Policies for sustainable consumption. Ecological Economics, 42, 273-287Shove, E. (2003). Comfort, cleanliness and convenience: the social organization of normality. Oxford: Berg.

Shove, E., Pantzar, M., & Watson, M. 2012. The dynamics of social practice : everyday life and how it changes. Los Angeles: Sage.

Siegelbaum, L. H. 2008. Cars for comrades: The life of the Soviet automobile. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Truitt, A. 2008. On the back of a motorbike: Middle-class mobility in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. American Ethnologist, 35 (1), 3-19

UNDP. 2013. Human Development Report 2013: The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. New York: UNDP.

Van Arkadie, B., & Mallon, R. 2003. Viet Nam: A transition tiger? The Australian National University: Asia Pacific Press.

Vann, E. F. 2012. Afterword: Consumption and Middle-Class Subjectivity in Vietnam. In V. Nguyen-Marshall, L. B. W. Drummond, & D. Bélanger (Eds.), The Reinvention of Distinction: Modernity and the Middle Class in Urban Vietnam. Dordrecht: Springer.

Veblen, T. 2005. [1899]). The theory of the leisure class : an economic study of institutions. Delhi: Aakar Books.

Vu, T. 2014. Persistence Amid Decay: The Communist Party of Vietnam at 83. In J. London (Ed.), Politics in Contemporary Vietnam: Party, State, and Authority Relations (pp. 21-41). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Warde, A. 2005. "Consumption and Theories of Practice". Journal of Consumer Culture, 5 (2), 131-153.

Warde, A. 2014. After taste: Culture, consumption and theories of practice. Journal of Consumer Culture, 14(3), 279-303.

Wilhite, H. 2008. New thinking on the agentive relationship between end-use technologies and energy-using practices. Energy Efficiency, 1 (2), 121-130.

Wilhite, H. 2009. The conditioning of comfort. Building Research & Information, 37 (1).

Wilhite, H. 2012. Towards a better accounting of the roles of body, things and habits in consumption. In A. Warde & D. Southerton (Eds.), COLLeGIUM: Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences: The Habits of Consumption (Vol. 12). Helsinki: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies

Wilhite, H., & Hansen, A. 2015. Reflections on the meta-practice of capitalism and its capacity for sustaining a low energy transformation. In C. Zelem & C. Beslay (Eds.), Sociologie de l'énergie: Gouvernance et pratiques sociales. Paris: CNRS Editions.

World Bank and Ministry of Planning and Investment. 2016. ‘Vietnam 2035: Toward Prosperity, Creativity, Equity, and Democracy’. Washington DC: World Bank.

Wunker, S. 2011. How the Vespa became Vietnamese. Retrieved from

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stephenwunker/2011/11/08/how-the-vespa-became-vietnamese/


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


=====================================================

TẠP CHÍ KHOA HỌC XÃ HỘI VÀ NHÂN VĂN

Trường Đại học Khoa học Xã hội và Nhân văn

Đại học Quốc gia Hà Nội

ISSN 2354-1172