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Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Doctor of Philosophy in Sociology
Title Class influences on life chances in Post-Reform Vietnam
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/16166/1/Chu, Ly (Redacted).pdf
This study provides a critical analysis of the influence of social class on
life chances in post-reform Vietnam. As the country underwent a
profound structural transition from a centrally planned to a marketoriented
economy in the mid-1980s, social class gradually replaced
political class as a major source of inequality. Knowledge about this
phenomenon is rudimentary – not least because of the continuing power
of state ideology in contemporary Vietnam.
Throughout the investigation, Bourdieu’s framework of class
reproduction guides both a quantitative analysis of the Survey
Assessment of Vietnamese Youth 2010 and a qualitative research of 39
respondents in the Red River Delta region, including young people of
the first post-reform generation – now in their 20s and 30s – and their
parents. The study discusses the ways in which class determines the
ability of parents to transmit different resources to their children,
focusing on those that are usable and valued in the fields of education
and labour. It finds that, across several areas of social life in
contemporary Vietnam, implicit class-based discrimination is disguised
and legitimised by explicit and seemingly universal ‘meritocratic’
The study makes a number of original contributions to sociology, three
of which are particularly important. (1) Empirically, it breaks new
ground for a sociological understanding of both the constitution and the
development of class inequalities in contemporary Vietnam. (2)
Methodologically, it offers numerous useful examples of mixed-methods
integration. (3) Theoretically, it proposes to think with, against and
beyond some of the most relevant Bourdieusian research on this topic.
The empirical application of Bourdieu’s framework in toto, as opposed to
a more customary partial appropriation, facilitates comprehensive
insights into: class-specified practices as governed and conditioned by
internalised powers and structural resources; the multidimensionality
of class-based advantages and disadvantages; and the causative
transmission and activation of capital across and within generations.

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