Emmanuelle Peyvel* - Institute of East Asian Studies (IAO, Lyon, UMR 5062).
Marie Gibert - University Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne, PRODIG Research Center (CNRS) – Paris
Our paper tackles the making of contemporary Ho Chi Minh City through the socio-spatial analysis of leisure practices. While the wealth accumulated since Ðoi Moi is made visible, few academic studies have succeeded to grasp its social use and cultural meaning, particularly amongst the middle and upper classes (Nguyen-Marshall, Drummond and Bélanger, 2012 ; Earl, 2004). The study of leisure reveals the way city dwellers negotiate their desire for more individual freedom in a socialist and Confucean society where the collectivity and the family are structural values (Drummond and Thomas, 2003).
We will question the hypothesis that contemporary leisure practices in Ho Chí Minh City generate a growing differentiation between public and private spaces, between individual and collective practices and between feelings of promiscuity and intimacy. These spatial evolutions give a measure of the reshaping of the socialist model of leisure since 1989. Leisure was first used to promote the modernist idea of universal progress through a heightened degree of state intervention (Harms, 2009). The contemporary advent of private actors and spaces of leisure has deeply altered urban dynamics.
This study was carried out using qualitative methods. We interviewed young Saigonese people and followed them in the city through their leisure practices. Interviews were completed with participatory observation in different places of leisure.
The findings inform the relation between the access of leisure, urban mobility and the commodification of urban spaces. These are key in understanding the closing, opening and privatization of places in this post-socialist city.