AMBIGUITY OF IDENTITY: The Mieu in Vietnam, by Nguyen Van Thang. Silkworm Books, 2007, 206 pp., 595 bahts (paper)

Modern states dominate the lives of minorities to an extent never experienced before. As the lines between respective ethnicities blur under pressures to change and assimilate into the mainstream, the question of how to preserve cultural distinctions arises. This may lead less to the preservation of identity than its reconstruction under the constraints of powerful central governments unschooled in the finer points of ethnology. In Vietnam, the dominant ethnic group, the Kinh, have long sought to transform and absorb cultures and peoples perceived as backward.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.