Fishers, Monks and Cadres: Navigating State, Religion and the South China Sea in Central Vietnam
Edyta Roszko (author) in conversation with Olaf Haraldsøn Smedal (UiB).
Welcome to the launch of the new book Fishers, Monks and Cadres: Navigating State, Religion and the South China Sea in Central Vietnam.
In “Fishers, Monks and Cadres” Edyta Roszko portrays a once-peripheral area in central Vietnam now at the centre of a global struggle for sovereignty, influence and control in the South China Sea. She further demonstrates that the maritime periphery of the South China Sea is central for anthropological analyses of the relationship between state, religion and society in Vietnam. The author’s triadic analysis and subtle use of binaries thus offer startlingly fresh ways to view Vietnamese society and local political power.
Edyta Roszko is a social anthropologist and senior researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Norway. She has long researched Chinese and Vietnamese fisheries and militia in the common maritime space of the South China Sea.
Olaf Haraldsøn Smedal is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Bergen. He is a specialist in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and the Malay world. He has conducted a long -term field research in Bangka, Flores and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo).
“Roszko’s excellent analysis of state-society dynamics in contemporary Vietnam reflects her many years of living in, and studying, these communities”—Bill Hayton, author of The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Modern Asia
“This detailed and painstakingly researched ethnography from coastal central Vietnam places the disputes over oceanic sovereignty within a longer history of social life in this fascinating but curiously understudied part of Vietnam. Everyday actors navigate the categories of state, society and religion like they sail the seas with the stars; the categories are both fixed and in motion, guiding life at the interface of sea and shore, even as everyday actors constantly shift their position among them.”—Erik Harms, Yale University.
“Edyta Roszko’s book is perhaps the first that examines such complex and tension-laden relation as experienced, mediated, challenged and tactically manoeuvred around by a rarely documented protagonist: fishers. (…). This book is a rich and engaging ethnography (…). It will be read and enjoyed by students, academics and, it might be hoped, policy makers”—Minh Chau Lam’s review in the Journal of Contemporary Asia.
Photo credit: Edyta Roszko