(P77AB) Vietnamese Migration and Diaspora
Part 1Session 7
Thu 13:30-15:00 K10 | 3.39
Part 2Session 8
Thu 15:30-17:00 K10 | 3.39
- Barbora Nováková Faculty of Arts, Charles University
- Barbora Nováková Faculty of Arts, Charles University
- Filip Kraus Palacký University, Faculty of Art
- Pham Thu Huong Palacký University
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Cold War Compatriots: Ethnic Nationhood after Border Crossings
Phi Su Williams College
How and why do migrants identify with certain political labels long after the geopolitical conditions that created these labels have changed? I address this by leveraging a historical circumstance in which refugee migration to a capitalist context coincided with labor migration to a socialist one: in the 1980s, Vietnamese refugees began to resettle in West Germany just as Vietnamese contract workers arrived in East Germany. These two migrant communities encountered each other in reunified Berlin after 1990. Drawing on interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, I analyze how Vietnamese in post-socialist Berlin embody competing visions of being nationals, despite continuing to identify as one ethnic nation.
This historically-grounded comparative study argues that state formation and international migration—border crossings—reconfigure ethnic nationhood in enduring ways. It theorizes border crossings as processes that disrupt the idea that a citizen is a member of a state that maps cleanly onto a territory. When a state collapses and reforms, it raises questions about the nation over whom a state should govern. International migration likewise distorts the trinity of people, state, and place by pulling nationals and societies across borders. This study therefore explicates how people’s identities reconfigure after border crossings by uncovering how their routine cultural interactions reproduce political divisions. Looking at individuals caught in processes of state formation and international migration, this study affirms the importance of the nation-state in the lives of those who cross, and are crossed by, borders.
Negotiating belonging: Rice and medical supplies for two homelands of the Vietnamese in Poland
Ewa Grabowska University of Warsaw
In my paper I analyze the support that the Vietnamese community in Poland gave for their homeland, their own community and the host country in 2020 as ways of their negotiating belonging strategy. I show how the aid they provided during the Covid-19 pandemic changed with new challenges taking place. I also analyze the community’s self-organization and justifications for their actions. Their relief actions in Poland included face masks and hot meals supplies for medical staff in Covid-related hospitals as well as Covid-test kits sent straight from Vietnam. While providing Polish hospitals with food and the most wanted basic medical equipment, they ceaselessly supported their own community members. They were the first Vietnamese community in Europe to raise funds for taking actions against the Covid-19 pandemic. Beside regular philanthropic initiatives such as building schools and libraries for the disadvantaged kids in Vietnam, their aid for their homeland encompassed mostly face masks and financial donations for the autumn flood victims in Central Vietnam. Hence, by depicting the ways in which the transnational migrant community of the Vietnamese in Poland reacted to the events of the year 2020 and how they activated their own social networks to effectively deal with the critical situations I illustrate their active part in negotiating their belonging to the two countries.
Vietnamese Drug Crime in the Czech Republic
Miroslav Nožina Institute of International Relations, Center for the Study of Global Regions
Vietnamese drug-related criminal activities represent a dynamic phenomenon on the Czech drug scene. Most notably, the Czech security forces have been registering a strong engagement of Vietnamese nationals in the illegal production and trade of cannabis and methamphetamine. The drugs are traded locally or, in growing amounts, exported abroad to other European countries and beyond. Vietnamese groupings are successful in the drug business due to their use of specific and effective modi operandi based on loose customer-supplier relations, their modern drug production technologies, and their ability to live in a specific symbiosis with local criminal environments and the Asian immigrant communities in the countries in which they operate.
Vietnamese Settled in the Czech Borderlands: Migrant Integration in Non-metropolitan Areas
Barbora Nováková Faculty of Arts, Charles University
While the history of Vietnamese presence in Czechia stretches back to 1950s and is connected to the Cold War geopolitics, Vietnamese diaspora started forming organically in the country only after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. Since 1990s a vast majority of Vietnamese in Czechia focused on petty trading and the German and Austrian borders with Czechia became sort of “incubator” of economic well-being for the VN in Czechia. Nowadays Vietnamese represent significant share (10-35%) of the population of villages and towns on the Czech side of the border, and travelers crossing overland border from both Austria and Germany to Czechia will still notice high numbers of Vietnamese conducting business here. Combining historical and ethnographic approach the presentation will clarify the history lying behind the formation of Vietnamese communities along Czech-German and Czech-Austrian border, and try to understand, how does the rural and peripheral environment of borderlands affect their integration at various levels.
Can we use the term Vietnamese Diaspora? A concept that is debated.
Christophe Vigne Université Paris Denis Diderot
Most studies in the human sciences are careful about using the term “Vietnamese diaspora”. They speak rather of “community with a diaspora dimension” or “diasporas under construction” only in the case of Vietnamese in the United States. In Vietnam, the authorities prefer to use the word “community”[c?ng ??ng]. On the other hand, some overseas Vietnamese claim to use the word diaspora. This communication will therefore examine conceptual and political issues related to the word “diaspora”. It will also be an opportunity to approach the great diversity of Vietnamese communities abroad.
Intermarriage or Co-ethnic Marriage? Partner Choice of Second-generation Vietnamese in the Czech Republic - two different views
Filip Kraus Palacký University, Faculty of Art
Pham Thu Huong Palacky University Olomouc
The history of Vietnamese diaspora in the central and Eastern Europe goes back to 1990s, when it transformed from state organized working migration. Today, the second-generation members of the diaspora are in their late teens and twenties, so they are in the time of choosing their marital partners. As such, the questions of the partner choices, family formation and changing identity of second-generation Vietnamese migrants are raising attention of scholars, not only in the Czech Republic. This paper would contribute to the discourse by analyzing the partner choice and the family formation of the second-generation Vietnamese migrants in the Czech Republic.
Based on the results of in-depth interviews with the members of the first and second-generation Vietnamese in Brno or Prague, the paper shows the variations in partner choices and marriage patterns among the members of the second-generation Vietnamese migrants in the Czech Republic, including intermarriage and co-ethnic marriages of the Vietnamese Czechs. The two presenters will show two antagonistic points of view on the partners choices in the Czech Republic, i.e. the motivations and partner choices of those who opt for co-ethnic marriages and those who opt for the intermarriages.
Motherhood in Transnational Marriage – Case Study of Vietnamese Female Marriage Migrants in Taiwan
Thi Thu Mai National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan; Palacky University Olomouc
The paper studies Vietnamese female marriage migrants in Taiwan, their changing identities and their experiences in motherhood in a host society. First, through in-depth interviews, the paper depicts the social context of the women at home and explains why and how they chose to migrate. Second, it examines the family and social lives of Vietnamese marriage migrants in Taiwan. Third, the paper shows how, under the given socio-economic and political conditions in the host society, the women negotiate their own space within various social institutions (such as family, working collective and society-at-large) or how they manage their motherhood and their own socialization into the host country.
Those are especially poor economic conditions, lack of job opportunities in Vietnam and lack of other means of migration that lead to the choice of marriage migration. By the marriage, the women are looking for a better life. But, the marriage migration also helps to fulfill their filial obligations to their natal families and negotiate their own position within it.
Majority of the women end up in rather poor socio-economic conditions, they are strongly controlled and subjected to their families-in-law. In a reaction, they create special identities of host mothers who are, under very unfavorable conditions, seeking better lives for their children and themselves.
In order to socialize into the host society, they are abandoning their mother language and cultural practices. At home, they are speaking Chinese with their children and they are performing the family ritual as in any other local Taiwanese family. On the other hand, they are looking for a job or business out of the family, that they are financially independent. This gives them better position not only within the family-in-law, but also allows them to financially support their natal families and increase their social status.
Negotiating Interethnic Partnerships and Intergenerational Conflicts within the Czech Vietnamese Diaspora
Marta Lopatková Charles University
Vietnamese are probably the most visible group of migrants in the Czech Republic. Nowadays the second generation Vietnamese who in their twenties they are looking for either sexual or marital partners. Despite being well integrated into otherwise ethnically homogenous Czech society they often have to deal with obstacles given not only by Czech majority but also Vietnamese community and their families.
Intergeneration gap and problems is a phenomenon widely studied in countries with large migrant communities (Asian communities in USA, Australia etc.) and situation young Vietnamese face in Czech Republic is very similar. By adopting Czech values and culture they often they tend to choose Czech sexual partners as they are well adjusted to Czech culture and experience difficulties while communicating with their parents - migrants of the first generation. Partnership, interethnic especially is one of a source of conflict in the family - conflict that touches upon the cultural dimension of the partnership and the family.
In this paper we focus on negotiation of romantic and sexual (couple) relationships of second generation Vietnamese migrants and their non-Vietnamese / Czech partners. We see it as a complex phenomenon where not only the ethnical aspects have to be at the forefront but also an intersectional approach is needed. For example, the gendered locus of power, on one hand, allows Vietnamese women to date or even marry Czech (non-Vietnamese) men. On the other, it pressures Vietnamese men to marry only within the Vietnamese diaspora, and moreover, it makes unacceptable for them to create and maintain same-sex couple relationships.
Although problematic of second generation migrants has become an important object of scientific research in post communist countries like Czech republic partnership as a topic is still partially neglected.
Vietnamese migration and diaspora have a long history. In the 1970s, Vietnamese migration became a global phenomenon, and currently there are about 4 million people of Vietnamese descent living in diaspora all around the world.
Vietnamese diaspora is, however, very diverse and heterogenous given the varying historical and political aspects of Vietnamese migration. After the reunification of Vietnam in 1975, two major migration flows appeared. On one hand, the migrants who left the country during late 1970s and 1980s, commonly known as the “boat people”, were frequently political
refugees accepted by countries such as the U.S., Australia, France, Germany and Finland. On the other hand Vietnamese Socialist Republic developed state organized migration schemes, and since early 1980 started exporting its labor force to the countries of former Soviet Bloc. After its dissolution many migrant workers transformed into economic migrants and created
basis for further Vietnamese economic migration to the Central and Eastern European region. Since 1990s new destinations for Vietnamese migration opened in East and Southeast Asia, thanks to Vietnam’s reintegration into international community, and apart from labor migration, marriage migration became important phenomenon.
It is clear that the Vietnamese diaspora is a very heterogenous group, whose members come from different socio-political and economic backgrounds, have various migration experience and maintain various and sometimes antagonistic identities. Moreover, the diaspora encompasses several generations in different stages of socio-economic and cultural or political
integration into the host society. In addition, not all of the generational cohorts are present in all parts of diaspora, which makes the situation even more complicated. Currently newly emerging strong Vietnamese diasporas in countries, where Vietnamese migrants were presented only in very marginal numbers, appear. The panel aims at discussing and better
understanding some of the similarities and specifics within Vietnamese diaspora, such as intergenerational conflict, integration, and identities