Lisa Barthelmes, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Location: 10 Sachem, Room 105
Time: 12:00- 1:00pm
Title: “Itinerant Vendors and Local Officials in Hanoi”
This paper unravels the multiple facets of street level politics by analyzing interactions between local officials and itinerant street vendors in Hanoi. Despite various bans and hostile state policies, street vendors continue to exist in large numbers the streets of Vietnam’s capital. I argue that by shifting between permissiveness and oppression the Vietnam state – through its law enforcement officers – uses uncertainty as a tool of urban governance. Navigating in a political environment that is both tolerant and hostile towards them, itinerant street vendors employ various strategies that range from evasion techniques and resistive acts to complicity and performing ‘ruralness’. By presenting data from fieldwork I conducted between July 2012 and November 2013, I aim to cast light on the often abstruse state-society relations in contemporary Vietnam.
Lisa Barthelmes is a PhD student in Anthropology at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in the “Markets, Traders, and the State in Vietnam” research group. Her PhD research focuses on itinerant street vendors and urban governance in Hanoi. She received her MA in in Sociocultural Anthropology, Economics, and Political Science at University of Heidelberg where she conducted research on the participation of fishermen in a development project in the Philippines.