Documents & Media
- Lauser, Andrea
- The cultural and religious landscape of Vietnam is undergoing striking transformations in recent years. In the course of economic reforms known as "Renovation" (ð[symbol]i mới) contemporary Vietnam is witnessing a revitalization of religious practices and popular rituals. While restrictive state controls on religious practices is step by step loosening, the intensification of ritual has reshaped religious practice. When discussing "religion" in Vietnam, it is important to note that one of the most influential discourses on the concept of "religion" is linked directly with the state. At the same time "religion" has played a part both in legitimising and reinforcing the state and in rebellions against it. The relationship between "religion" and "state" is thus best characterised in terms of "persistent ambiguities" or "balanced tension". Correspondingly "religion" — or rather what has to be accepted as "good religion" or legitimate beliefs (tín ngưỡng) and "beautiful customs" (thuan phong my tục) is continuously negotiated by the state, Vietnamese scholars, the media and the local ritual practices. In this paper I will introduce two historical — and at the same time deified — heroes and ancestors (heroic ancestors). The way they are ritually received will reveal the very ambiguous "dialogic" interaction between official and local discourses and practices. The one figure is Trần Hưng Ðạo, who was a Grand Commander-in-Chief during the Trần Dynasty and repelled Mongol invasions in the 13th century. The other one is Hồ Chí Minh, the famous Vietnamese revolutionary and statesman, who repelled the French in the 20th century.
- Issue Date
- Zeitschrift für Ethnologie
- Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät ; Institut für Ethnologie