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On the Back of a Motorbike: Middle-Class Mobility in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Allison Truitt
American Ethnologist
Vol. 35, No. 1 (Feb., 2008), pp. 3-19
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27667470
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
On the Back of a Motorbike: Middle-Class Mobility in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
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Abstract

"Mobility" is a key concept in understanding processes of globalization and class formation. In this article, I examine motorbike mobility in Ho Chi Minh City and its role in reordering social stratification in urban Vietnam. In the years following trade liberalization, motorbikes emerged as exemplary symbols of purchasing power, displaying both monetized and motorized power. In response to the exponential increase in the number of motorbikes, Vietnamese state agencies inscribed streets with divisions to separate different classes of vehicles and regulate the flow of traffic. Motorbikes, I argue, elude attempts to regulate their movement precisely because they embody the very mobility promised by economic reforms.

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