“Fish for Transparency”: Food Grievances and Depoliticising

Nguyen, T., 29-Aug-2019, (Accepted/In press).

Research output: Contribution to conferenceOtherAcademic

This snapshot provokes both theoretical and empirical investigation into the use of food by civil society (CS) actors in their attempt to construct a pro-transparency discourse. Based on Wells-Dang’s conceptualisation of “rice-roots democracy”, the analysis aims to illustrate food grievance as a discursive element, connecting the fish death to issue of transparency and allowing CS actors to maintain a façade of apoliticality. This role complements “rice-roots democracy”, in which CS optimises limited political space to voice their critique without risking sanctions from the state.

The picture was collected as part of the data for an ongoing PhD research focusing on environmental civil society in Vietnam. The data was collected from Instagram using the hashtag #ichoosefish, which was created during the controversy around an industry waste-induced mass fish death in Central Vietnam in 2016. The picture, thus, combines elements of collective actions and food/environment activism themes to create a message inviting researchers to question the existence of current forms of participation in authoritarian Vietnam, the dilemma of economic growth and environmental conservation, and the need for an action-based research design in the peculiar context. The picture’s role is not only inspirational, but also informative, in a sense that it belongs to a greater structure of visual data that, in combination with textual data, would help to reveal the specific pathways wherein civil society actors in Vietnam, be it intentionally or not, optimise their limited political space.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 29-Aug-2019
EventRGS-IBG Annual International Conference: Postgraduate Snapshots of Trouble and Hope - Royal Geographers Society, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 27-Aug-201930-Aug-2019


ConferenceRGS-IBG Annual International Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom


RGS-IBG Annual International Conference: Postgraduate Snapshots of Trouble and Hope


London, United Kingdom

Event: Conference

ID: 109570476