From the Art of the One-Party State to the property of the people: The social life of propaganda posters in Vietnam (Arbeitstitel)
In the socialist Vietnam, propaganda posters are an essential medium used by the party-state to promote its state-led projects, from socialist construction to modernization. Since the 1986 market reforms, these posters have transformed into an object of life-style consumption by certain sections of the emerging middle class, a process dominated by private actors in the field of arts and creativity. My project provides the first systematic inquiry into the social life of Vietnamese propaganda posters as distinct objects of economic and social values, placing these in the historical trajectories of Vietnam as part of the global socialist ecumene and the Post–Cold War global order. Focusing on how the posters come to assume contradictory social and political values at the same time, the project will show how their use and valuation are part of ongoing political economic transformations in Vietnam, a process in which socialist genealogy intermingle with neoliberal logics and practices.