Bargaining with the state: street vending, urban resistance and thepolitics of everyday life and survival in Hanoi, Vietnam

In Hanoi (popn. 6.5 million), the capital city of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the majority of vendors are rural to urban migrants, often women, who lack access to more durable livelihoods due to limited formal education, financial capital or social networks, who are now being pushed off their household land by the state’s development plans. Simultaneously, government efforts have sought to restrict the use of public space for vending. Although by trading, vendors can be fined, arrested, and have their goods confiscated, vendors can be seen plying their trade throughout the city. The aim of my research is therefore to better understand the coherences and contradictions between state urban planning and the livelihood survival strategies of urban vendors in a post-Socialist city, Hanoi, Vietnam. To do so, I will draw on a total of 12 months fieldwork, spanning five years (2010-2015). This is the first study to consider the impacts of the 2008 on vending livelihoods and will contribute in-depth understandings of post-socialist economies and emerging pressures on urban and periurban populations that arise out of rapid state-led urbanization and modernization.

Faculty Supervisor:

Sarah Turner


Noelani Eidse



Geography / Geology / Earth science



McGill University



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