Fishers, Monks and Cadres

Navigating State, Religion and the South China Sea in Central Vietnam

Edyta Roszko

  • Published: 2020
  • Pages: 288 pp.
  • 5 maps and 6 illustrations (all B&W)
  • Series: NIAS Monographs
  • Series number: 151
Hardback available worldwide in Fall 2020. Paperback available in February 2021.
ISBN Hardback: 978-87-7694-286-1, £65.00 (October 2020)
ISBN Paperback: 978-87-7694-287-8, £22.50 (March 2021)
ISBN EBook: Ebook, £18 ()
Fishers, Monks and Cadres is a significant new work. Its vivid portrait of local beliefs and practices makes a powerful argument for looking beyond monolithic religious traditions. Its triadic analysis and subtle use of binaries offer startlingly fresh ways to view Vietnamese society and local political power. The book demonstrates Vietnam is more than urban and agrarian society in the Red River Basin and Mekong Delta. Finally, the author builds on intensive, long-term research to portray a region at the forefront of geopolitical struggle, offering insights that will be fascinating and revealing to a much broader readership. 
author image not supplied

Edyta Roszko is a social anthropologist and senior researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) in Norway. For over fifteenth years, she has undertaken ethnographic research on Chinese and Vietnamese fisheries and militia in the common maritime space of the South China Sea. Connectivity of fishers compelled her to historicize fishing communities and to work beyond the nation-state and area studies framework. Her newly awarded European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant project TransOcean at CMI expands her geographic field beyond Vietnam and China to include other global regions in Oceania and in West and East Africa. 

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by Seb Rumsby
From journal: South East Asia Research
The book’s greatest strength is its detailed, sensitive empirical recording of everyday politics and contours of religious change, demonstrating Roszko’s fluency in Vietnamese and depth of fieldwork immersion.
From journal: The Journal of Asian Studies
Roszko’s adroit weaving of these stories makes Fishers, Monks and Cadres a vibrant new work of Vietnamese anthropology as well as an eminently readable maritime ethnography. As the South China Sea becomes even more important geopolitically, works like Roszko’s Fishers, Monks and Cadres will help scholars understand the roles of local fisherfolk communities in determining their own lifestyles.
by Nguyen Khac Giang
From journal: Contemporary Southeast Asia
The book will be an important reference for future research on the relationship between the state, religion and society in Vietnam – and, hopefully, a starting point for more human-centred studies on the South China Sea dispute.
by Bill Hayton, author of 'The South China Sea: The Struggle for Power in Modern Asia'
From journal: NA
‘Roszko’s excellent analysis of state-society dynamics in contemporary Vietnam reflects her many years of living in, and studying, these communities’
by Erik Harms, Yale University
From journal: NA
‘A detailed and painstakingly researched ethnography from coastal central Vietnam’
by Minh Chau Lam
From journal: Journal of Contemporary Asia
Edyta Roszko’s book is perhaps the first that examines such complex and tension-laden relation as experienced, mediated, challenged and tactically manoeuvred around by a rarely documented protagonist: fishers. This book is a rich and engaging ethnography of two fishing communities in central Vietnam, who have been steering a challenging but creative course in a triadic relationship with the state and religious authorities.