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Luxury and Rubble

Civility and Dispossession in the New Saigon (Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes #32)

Erik Harms


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Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (10/9/2020)
Paperback (10/9/2020)


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Luxury and Rubble is the tale of two cities in Ho Chi Minh City. It is the story of two planned, mixed-use residential and commercial developments that are changing the face of Vietnam’s largest city. Since the early 1990s, such developments have been steadily reorganizing urban landscapes across the country. For many Vietnamese, they are a symbol of the country’s emergence into global modernity and of post-socialist economic reforms. However, they are also sites of great contestation, sparking land disputes and controversies over how to compensate evicted residents. In this penetrating ethnography, Erik Harms vividly portrays the human costs of urban reorganization as he explores the complex and sometimes contradictory experiences of individuals grappling with the forces of privatization in a socialist country.

Praise For Luxury and Rubble: Civility and Dispossession in the New Saigon (Asia: Local Studies / Global Themes #32)

"Erik Harms’s Luxury and Rubble is a work of fine-grained thick description that patiently walks readers through the rapid economic, cultural, and socio-spatial shifts that remade Ho Chi Minh City. . . superb, even-handed."
— Cross-Currents

"Harms’s book offers a remarkably insightful and well-rounded ethnography of emergent urban aspirations, discontents, and imaginaries. The book is well on its way to making a serious and lasting contribution to the social science fields of cultural and economic anthropology, urban sociology, geography, and postsocialist studies, among others."
— H-Net

University of California Press, 9780520292512, 304pp.

Publication Date: October 21, 2016

About the Author

Erik Harms is Associate Professor of Anthropology and Southeast Asia Studies at Yale University and the author of Saigon’s Edge: On the Margins of Ho Chi Minh City.