Urban Development and Fishing Livelihoods in the Museum: Nostalgia and Discontent in Central Vietnam

Graeme Were


This article explores how the topics of fishing and urban development are addressed in a Vietnamese social history museum. Drawing on a project taking place in the Museum of Danang, it describes the way the museum represented the voices of a displaced fishing community who were moved from traditional fishing huts on the riverside to a social housing complex as part of Danang’s urban development plan in the 2000s. Capturing the impact of the community’s relocation on their fishing livelihoods through an exhibition of objects, photographs and texts, the article reveals ways in which nostalgia is recruited to make social, political and moral commentary on urban equality and livelihood change in a rapidly developing city. Methodologically, the project explored the limits of critical representation in an authoritarian state and how nostalgia can be understood as a subtle call for ethical action.


Fishing heritage; social history; development; nostalgia; Vietnam

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.29311/mas.v20i2.4027

Copyright (c) 2022 Graeme Were

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360

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