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:

Show Summary Details


This chapter explores the idea of “liberation from grievous history” and examines its wider political and ethical implications. The key aspect of contemporary Vietnamese memory politics is the fact that the emerging local social forms have redefined the bond between past and present generations, thereby challenging the authority of the state hierarchy. Therefore, changes in the social life of the dead mirror changes in the political life of the living. Concerning the three classes of the dead (heroes, ancestors, and ghosts) in Vietnamese social reality, the ritual ties with ghosts best illustrate the magical unity between the local and the cosmopolitan. Liberation from grievance, for the victims of mass death in the Monkey Year, is a way of transcending the recovery of the unity of humankind denied in the former and a universal norm concealed in the symbolic forms of communal unity.

Keywords: liberation; grievous history; memory politics; Monkey Year; communal unity

Chapter.  3376 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.