Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: A state of ambivalence: Vietnam's renovation of ontological security and the unending 'transition to socialism' as a discourse of sovereignty
Authors: To, Minh Son
Keywords: Social sciences::Political science::International relations
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: To, M. S. (2022). A state of ambivalence: Vietnam's renovation of ontological security and the unending 'transition to socialism' as a discourse of sovereignty. Master's thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: This paper adopts the ontological security perspective, which maintains that states seek coherence and continuity in their self-perceptions and actions, to investigate the Vietnamese state self-identity. The 1986 Đổi Mới (Renovation) reforms’ embrace of global reintegration and conciliation with former foes, China and the U.S., necessitate rearticulations of Vietnam’s anticolonial legacies and socialist ideology. This paper develops a discursive account of ontological security grounded in Lacanian and postcolonial insights. It argues that states undergo constant but contingent state-making projects because they are never truly ontologically secured. Postcolonial states are fundamentally constituted by this (Lacanian) lack upon their colonization and so desires an idealized sovereign statehood. Ontological security can be contingently attained with a hegemonic discourse of sovereignty that institutes a Self against a threatening Other and a master narrative to absorb political demands and preclude alternatives to the current state. The Vietnamese master discourse of unyielding struggle to unity and independence, with an ultimate, imperialist Other and the Vietnamese, socialist Self, provisionally fulfills this postcolonial desire. The Renovation of Vietnamese ontological security turns its ‘socialism’ towards ‘sovereignty’. The unending ‘transition to socialism’ as a Vietnamese sovereignty discourse maintains internal (U.S.) and external (China) Others, identification with an imagined ‘international community’ for sovereignty legitimation, but ambivalent socialist identification with an idealized Soviet Union and, ineluctably, a ‘brotherly’ socialist China.
Schools: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies 
Fulltext Permission: embargo_restricted_20240506
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:RSIS Theses

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
TMSon_Final Dissertation.pdf
  Until 2024-05-06
1.09 MBAdobe PDFUnder embargo until May 06, 2024

Page view(s)

Updated on Sep 30, 2023

Google ScholarTM


Items in DR-NTU are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.