Edgy City: Urban/Rural Space and Ho Chi Minh City

By Daniel C. Tsang
Subversities

As Ho Chi Minh City races to be Vietnam's most modern metropolis, some outlying areas are left behind. Yet they become interesting because they exhibit many of the tensions that face the developing country after decades of war, as Vietnam copes with being nominally Socialist but practically capitalist, and races to modernize itself, at the risk of leaving behind peasants in the largely rural country.

Erik Harms, who teaches Anthropology at Yale, has offered a revealing look at the social lives that intersect each other in the wake of this modernization race. Focusing on Hóc Môn, on the edge of Saigon, he writes like a journalist [I mean his writing is readable], revealing social lives as otherwise marginalized residents of this region on the Trans-Asia Highway are able to tell their stories through his new book, Saigon's Edge: On the Margins of Ho Chi Minh City, now out from University of Minnesota Press.

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