[ndlr] Parution de l’ouvrage de Sascha Wölck basé sur sa thèse de doctorat soutenue à l’European University Viadrina de Francfort (Oder) sous la direction des Professeurs Konstanze Jungbluth et Werner Schiffauer. Rare étude sur les métis Américano-Vietnamiens. Présentation de l’auteur.
Sascha Wölck, Komplexe Körper: Con lai Mỹ. Identitätsverhandlungen, Fremdbilder und gesellschaftliche Positionierungen von Besatzungskindern in Vietnam [The Complex Body: Con lai My. Identity negotiations, foreign images and social positioning of children of servicemen in Vietnam], Berlin, Regiospectra, 2016.
One aspect of the Vietnam War which so far has attracted little attention in area studies and human sciences is that during the years of warfare, tens of thousands of con lai Mỹ children of American soldiers and Vietnamese mothers were born. The end of the Republic of Vietnam and the subsequent withdrawal of US troops from Vietnam marked a profound change in the life of the majority of con lai Mỹ. After the reunification, they were increasingly associated with a specific breach of racist norms and labelled as offspring of absent fathers.
The marginal interest in their biographies and experiences is inexplicable, not only because they simply were so many, but also because they were significant witnesses to the Vietnam War and the post-war era, as well as observers and part of the construction of a national identity and of changing/changeless social norms in Vietnam.
Stuart Hall argues that there is no racism that can be understood as a universal characteristic of human societies, but rather that there are only specific forms of racism. Following his notion, I connect the discrimination that con lai Mỹ faced to social dynamics in post war Vietnam until the present day. Their experiences of discrimination can give perspectives on political and social conditions in Vietnam, which have changed tremendously since the end of the war in 1975.
In this dissertation, I identify processes that led to the representation of con lai Mỹ as deviants from society and examine specific forms of discrimination. In doing so, I investigate the further implications these constructions and attributions have had and still have on the social reality of many con lai Mỹ by conducting qualitative semi-structured interviews. So far, I have found three social environments particularly interesting: publicity, family and state. Each of these environments reacted specifically to their presence.
This dissertation is based on two residencies in Vietnam between 2012 and 2014, during which I conducted interviews in Đà Nẵng and Hồ-Chí-Minh-City. My basic questions are: What forms of discrimination did con lai Mỹ experience in different social situations in Vietnam? Is there a relationship between these experiences and broader social conditions in Vietnam? And if so, how is this relation structured? What are its characteristic features? How can one describe their daily life and position in society today?
Sascha Wölck is a cultural theorist and regional scientist with a focus on Southeast Asia. He is the author of a variety of scientific papers and journalistic publications concerning modern Vietnamese society.
Source : Regiospectra