The Decomposition of the Cold War

Heonik Kwon

in After the Massacre

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780520247963
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939653 | DOI:
The Decomposition of the Cold War

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This chapter explores some aspects of global bipolar conflict from within the spectrum of local social development and the process of conflict resolution. It shows that certain democratic and cosmopolitan values are expressed in the everyday practices of the Vietnamese villagers and illustrates how this cultural phenomenon helps undo the historical legacy of the Cold War. Even now, heroes, ancestors, and ghosts coexist in the village environment and the three social classes in afterlife associate in popular ritual practices. Social hierarchy in the afterlife is not fixed in today's Vietnam but is variable relative to the specific locus of memory. In this plural, dynamic environment of commemoration, the political identity of the dead is constantly in fluctuation and this mobility makes the space of commemoration and proliferates with a multitude of perspectives, thus making the absolute identity of heroic death or ancestral death impossible.

Keywords: bipolar conflict; Cold War; ritual practices; Vietnam; commemoration; heroic death; ancestral death

Chapter.  9811 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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