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Bittersweet Transitions

Bittersweet Transitions

Urbanization on the Fringe of the City

(p.29) 1. Bittersweet Transitions
Saigon's Edge
Erik Harms
University of Minnesota Press

This chapter seeks to understand the persistent use of binary frameworks, such as rural versus urban and inside versus outside, to understand complex urban processes. It argues that social life in Hóc Môn challenges and reproduces simplifying schemes for understanding Vietnamese spatial organization. It discusses that Vietnam is both capitalist and socialist, an agrarian nation constantly marked by an emphasis on urbanization and industrial development. It explores the conceptual and practical difficulties that arise when a place and the people who inhabit it must straddle symbolically opposed concepts. The chapter also examines in detail the ambivalence Hóc Môn residents associate with the current urbanization process in Ho Chi Minh City, linking this to the ways that people living on the fringes of the city fall between the spatial and temporal categories used to imagine the city.

Keywords:   rural spaces, urban spaces, social life, Hóc Môn, Vietnam, capitalist, socialist, urbanization process, Ho Chi Minh City

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