Searching for Vietnam

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9. Searching for Vietnam: Selected Writings on Vietnamese Culture and Society.
A. Terry Rambo. February, 2005.


This book brings together much of what the author has written about Vietnam from his arrival during wartime under a contract for ARPA, the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the US Defense Department to the present. The lengthy introduction represents a soul-searching by a scholar who creatively adapted to the various stages of Vietnam’s modernization. He admits that new trends in anthropological study would make him write his study differently, but he sticks to the basic pattern he identified during his study of the Vietnamese village. His experience of studying Vietnam over the past forty years has confirmed the validity of his initial sense that Vietnamese society is incredibly complex and difficult to comprehend. He thinks he is still a long way from having a clear picture of how contemporary Vietnamese society is organized, and his understanding of Vietnamese culture and the ways inwhich it is changing (or retaining traditional patterns) also remains tantalizingly incomplete. That is why he titled this book Searching for Vietnam, but he confesses that what started as the exotic “other” has become an everyday part of his own reality and no anthropologist could hope for a better outcome to his career.