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Transitions in Taste in Vietnam and the Diaspora

Thomas, Mandy

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This paper argues that food and styles of eating have become the predominant markers of social change for the Vietnamese in both Vietnam and in the diaspora. In post-socialist Vietnam the transition to a market economy has allowed for a huge growth in the number of restaurants and cafés, and in the north, a return to an earlier style of cooking. The intense interest and emphasis on food as embodied pleasure has meant that it has come to stand for the transition away from a heavily...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorThomas, Mandy
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-13T23:14:36Z
dc.identifier.issn1035-8811
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/88697
dc.description.abstractThis paper argues that food and styles of eating have become the predominant markers of social change for the Vietnamese in both Vietnam and in the diaspora. In post-socialist Vietnam the transition to a market economy has allowed for a huge growth in the number of restaurants and cafés, and in the north, a return to an earlier style of cooking. The intense interest and emphasis on food as embodied pleasure has meant that it has come to stand for the transition away from a heavily state-controlled economy. The new configurations of family and friendship are being framed by newly available ways of 'eating out', which are both a means of social display and distinction as well as an indicator of the tensions between reform and festivity within an authoritarian nation-state struggling to define itself in a globalising world. At the same time as food in Vietnam is undergoing rapid transformation so too has the Vietnamese diaspora generationally changed its eating patterns. Although there has been a focus in the literature on food in the diaspora that emphasises the nostalgic and recuperative elements of 'migrant food', I argue that food is the prime mechanism of intercultural engagement for each diasporic generation. For older Vietnamese, Vietnamese restaurants and barbecues have been the sites of interplay between cultural 'tradition' and innovation, and between Australianness and Vietnameseness, and these interstitial places continue to be important for younger Vietnamese. Within this established framework of cross-cultural interaction, for Vietnamese youth, the social settings of 'ethnic food', eaten at home and shared with family, have been grafted onto a sociality of eating fast food. This melding together of both invention and convention, of transgression and ordinariness provides the background against which young people from migrant backgrounds are reinvigorating the social spaces of food consumption and in the process both re-enchanting and destabilising the notion of migrant food.
dc.publisherAustralian Anthropological Society Inc
dc.sourceAustralian Journal of Anthropology, The
dc.subjectKeywords: Australia; Cultural Change; Cultural Maintenance; Diaspora; Eating and Drinking Establishments; Economic Development; Feeding Practices; Food Preparation; Generational Differences; Migrants; Social Change; South Asian Cultural Groups; Vietnam
dc.titleTransitions in Taste in Vietnam and the Diaspora
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.description.refereedYes
local.identifier.citationvolume15
dc.date.issued2004
local.identifier.absfor200209 - Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies
local.identifier.ariespublicationMigratedxPub18484
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationThomas, Mandy, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue1
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage54
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage67
local.identifier.doi10.1111/j.1835-9310.2004.tb00365.x
dc.date.updated2015-12-12T08:39:31Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-33750368531
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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