“Luxury and Rubble,” a new book by Yale anthropologist Erik Harms, tells the tale of two urban developments in Ho Chi Minh City, the Vietnamese city formerly called Saigon.
Phú Mỹ Hưng, a luxurious commercial and residential development, provides a home to members of Vietnam’s rising upper middle class. Thủ Thiêm, a similar development under construction in a nearby district, required the mandatory eviction of 14,600 households.
Harms conducted intensive ethnographic research with residents of the existing luxury development, where he lived for nine months, and also with those being displaced. His book draws contrasts and connections between the two. It shows the human costs of master-planned urban development while exploring the effects of privatization in a socialist country.
“Luxury and Rubble: Civility and Dispossession in the New Saigon” is published by the University of California Press. It is also available to anyone as a free e-book, thanks in part to the support of Yale’s Department of Anthropology, Council of Southeast Asian Studies, Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Areas Studies, and Frederick W. Hilles Publication Fund.
Harms, an associate professor of anthropology and Southeast Asian studies, spoke to YaleNews about the project.
Click here to read the Q&A in YaleNews.