Logo sharing a planet in peril white
23 - 25 July 2024

Sandra Kurfürst Joins Roundtable at EuroSEAS 2024 on “The Good Life in Late Socialist Asia – Aspirations, Politics, and Possibilities”

Sandra Kurfürst Joins Roundtable at EuroSEAS 2024 on “The Good Life in Late Socialist Asia – Aspirations, Politics, and Possibilities”

“Sharing a Planet in Peril” (SAPP) member Sandra Kurfürst will join a panel on “The Good Life in Late Socialist Asia – Aspirations, Politics, and Possibilities” at the 13th conference of the European Association for Southeast Asian Studies (EuroSEAS), to be held from 23 to 25 July 2024 at the University of Amsterdam.

The roundtable introduces the special issue “The Good Life in Late Socialist Asia: Aspirations, Politics, and Possibilities,” edited by Minh T. N. Nguyen, Phill Wilcox, and Jake Lin, and published by positions: asia critique (Duke University Press) in early 2024. Sandra Kurfürst contributed to this publication with an article titled “Dancing and Rapping the Good Life: Sharing Aspirations and Values in Vietnamese Hip-Hop“, centered around the aspirations of female hip-hop practitioners in Vietnam’s major cities, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, that investiagtes what leading the good life means to them, and how they navigate the ambiguous moral landscape coproduced by authoritarianism and liberalism. 

Understanding the quest for the good life in rapidly evolving Vietnam, Laos, and China requires examining the political economy of late socialism, where capitalist market growth occurs under Communist party oversight. The issue comprises nine articles by Kirsten Endres (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology), Arve Hansen (University of Oslo), Roberta Zavoretti (University of Cologne), Sandra Kurfürst (University of Cologne), Jiazhi Fengjiang (University of Edinburgh), Charlotte Bruckermann (Global South Studies Center, University of Cologne), Elizabeth Elliott (National University of Singapore), Fan Zhang (Peking University), and Michael Kleinod (Global South Studies Center, University of Cologne), with an epilogue by Li Zhang (UC Davis). It critically explores the concept of the good life and its impact on late-socialist societies through the perspectives of individuals and communities experiencing significant political and economic changes. While development driven by growth offers unprecedented opportunities, it also leads to increasing social inequality, environmental degradation, and a pervasive moral crisis amidst state-promoted national aspirations. People are thus challenged to shape lives they deem meaningful both individually and collectively.

The special issue illustrates how the conflicting value systems of late socialism create contradictions and politics that restrict the potential for collective well-being. However, the authors also highlight the moral agency of individuals navigating these complex social orders, defining their own concepts of the good and their motivations. With contributions from all three late socialist contexts, the issue highlights how the pursuit of the good life is an uneven struggle, where individuals from varied social positions strive to build their futures in increasingly diverse societies. Contributors to the roundtable include the authors of the special issue’s articles and two discussants who critically engage with its themes and contributions, prompting further discussion. It aims to foster a dialogue between the panelists and the Euroseas audience.

Reference

Kurfürst, S. 2024. Dancing and Rapping the Good Life: Sharing Aspirations and Values in Vietnamese Hip-Hop. positions (2024) 32 (1): 89–105. DOI

More Activities and News

portrait image of Noah Kahindi

Noah Kahindi

Global South Studies Center (GSSC)
Classen-Kappelmann-Straße 24
50931 Cologne, Germany

Phone: +49 (0)221 47076657

E-mail: noah.kahindi@uni-koeln.de