Weaving Women's Spheres in Vietnam

The Agency of Women in Family, Religion and Community

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Editor: Atsufumi Kato
Weaving Women’s Spheres in Vietnam offers an in-depth study of the status of women in Vietnamese society through an examination of their roles in the context of family, religious and local community life from anthropological, historical and sociological perspectives. Unlike previous works on gender issues relating to Vietnam which focus on women as passive subjects and are restricted to specific spheres such as family, this book, through a series of case studies and life stories, not only examines the suppressive gender structure of the Vietnamese family, but also demonstrates Vietnamese women's agency in appropriating that structure and creating alternative spheres for women which they have interwoven in between the dominant realms of public and private spheres in the areas of family, religious practice, community organizations, and politics, including their participation in the (re)construction of national identity. Accordingly, this volume is expected to become an important new benchmark relating to gender issues in Asian societies, especially in the context of so-called ‘transitional’ societies, such as China and Vietnam.

Contributors include: Kirsten W. Endres, Ito Mariko, Ito Miho, Kato Atsufumi , Hy V. Luong, Miyazawa Chihiro, Thien-Huong T. Ninh, Tran Thi Minh Thi.

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Kato Atsufumi is Assistant Professor at the University of Tokyo. He is the co-editor of Rethinking Representations of Asian Women: Changes, Continuity, and Everyday Life (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).
Preface ... vii
List of Figures ... x
List of Tables ... xii
List of Contributors ... xiii

Weaving Women’s Spheres in Vietnam: An Introduction ... 1
Kato Atsufumi

PART 1
Gendered Structure and Reframing It from within


1 Gender Relations in Vietnam: Ideologies, Kinship Practices, and Political Economy ... 25
Hy V. Luong

2 Rethinking Vietnamese Women’s Property Rights and the Role of Ancestor Worship in Premodern Society: Beyond the Dichotomies ... 57
Miyazawa Chihiro

3 Divorce Prevalence under the Forces of Individualism and Collectivism in “Shortcut” Modernity in Vietnam ... 81
Tran Thi Minh Thi

4 Negotiating with Multilayered Public Norms: Female University Students’ Struggle to Survive the Đổi Mới Period ... 116
Ito Miho

PART 2
Transgressing Boundaries, Weaving Alternatives, and Putting Down New Roots


5 The Limit of Chia Sẻ (Compassion): Interpretative Conflicts in the Collectivity of the Vietnamese Women’s Union ... 141
Kato Atsufumi

6 Living in Intimacy: A Case Study of Women’s Community at a Caodaist Temple in Hanoi ... 166
Ito Mariko

7 Imperious Mandarins and Cunning Princesses: Mediumship, Gender, and Identity in Urban Vietnam ... 193
Kirsten W. Endres

8 The Blessed Virgin Mary Wears Áo Dài: Marianism in the Transnational Public Sphere between Vietnamese Catholics in the u.s. and Vietnam ... 218
Thien-Huong T. Ninh

Index ... 233
All interested in gender issues in Vietnam, especially in the realms of family, religion, and local communities.