Recycling migration and changing nationalisms : The vietnamese return diaspora and reconstruction of vietnamese nationhood

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1101-1117
Journal / PublicationJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


The Vietnamese diasporic population, largely constituted within international and regional political turbulences in the 1970s and early 1980s, has been swiftly recycled over the last decade. Many first- and second-generation overseas Vietnamese have been returning to Vietnam to live and work. This article examines the interactive dynamics between the homeland society and the returning migrants, and the impact of return migration on Vietnamese nationhood. Unlike most transnational studies that centre on the identity issues of transmigrants, this paper examines changes occurring both to the migrants and to the state and society of origin. It challenges the common perception that migrants are fluid and flexible, whereas the homeland state and society are fixed. While the homeland has been drawing up rhetorical strategies and policy to accommodate these once-discordant overseas subjects, the returning migrants continue their negotiations on history, identity and nationhood. The interactions between the Vietnamese state and the returning diaspora have created a dynamic transnational social field for the reconstruction of the Vietnamese past and present, which in turn poses new questions of boundary-making within the Vietnamese nation as a whole. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

Research Area(s)

  • Pan-vietnamese imagination, Return migration, Transnational negotiations, Vietnamese diaspora, Vietnamese nationhood