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The Unimagined CommunityImperialism and Culture in South Vietnam$
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Duy Lap Nguyen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526143969

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526143976

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Mass culture in the later Republic

Mass culture in the later Republic

(p.175) 5 Mass culture in the later Republic
The Unimagined Community

Duy Lap Nguyen

Manchester University Press

The violence of the war of attrition would result in widespread rural depopulation. Following the collapse of the First Republic, the program of social revolution in the countryside would be replaced by an “urban revolution,” aimed at isolating the insurgency by displacing the rural population in mass. In the cities, moreover, the policies implemented by the later Republican regimes would help to precipitate the emergence of an enormous consumer society, dependent on American aid. Chapter five will look at the rise of a new popular culture, which would become an increasingly pervasive phenomenon in South Vietnamese cities in the mid 1960s, as the violence continued to escalate in the countryside. Contrary to Communist accounts, this mass culture was not a product of US cultural imperialism. Rather, it was an unintended effect of policies, implemented by the later Republic governments, in accordance with the American aim of establishing a bastion of liberal democracy and free market capitalism. Freed from the censorship imposed by the early Republic, the market for media would increasingly divert the efforts of South Vietnamese intellectuals away from the creation of high culture and art toward the production of mass entertainment.

Keywords:   popular culture, Cold War, US imperialism, mass media, psychological warfare

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