chapter  7
16 Pages

Maritime subversions and socio-political formations in Vietnamese history: a look from the marginal center ( mien Trung )

ByCHARLES WHEELER

Introduction This study considers the role that piracy and smuggling in the South China Sea (broadly defi ned) played in the creation and reproduction of states in lands and waters that nowadays constitute a part of Vietnam. It contributes to a larger agenda that addresses the ways in which such ostensibly deviant practices played central roles in the creation of new political regimes, social hierarchies, and cultural orthodoxies in Vietnamese history. By doing this, the study also sheds light on the historical importance of Vietnam’s often overlooked Center ( Trung bo in Vietnamese)—a region once politically central, commercially wealthy, and culturally dynamic, but now marginal, poor, and underdeveloped-in the creation of a centralized Vietnamese state across eastern mainland Southeast Asia.