Ethnology: An International Journal of Cultural and Social Anthropology, Vol 50, No 1 (2011)

DOG MEAT POLITICS IN A VIETNAMESE TOWN

Nir Avieli

Abstract


In 1999 there were only two semi-clandestine dog-meat restaurants in Hoi An, a town in Central Vietnam. In 2004 there were dozens, serving mostly men of the new middle class. This article explores the sudden popularity of dog meat in Hoi An and discusses its meanings. Based on traditional forms, eating dog meat expresses masculinity. While class distinctions, religious propensities, and pro­cesses of modernization shape local attitudes regarding this culinary trend, the overarching theme that explains the sudden proliferation of dog-meat restau­rants in Hoi An is political and has to do with the diners’ attitude towards the regime: eating dog meat expresses political allegiance, while avoiding it indi­cates disdain.

Full Text: PDF