Political Science Faculty Publications and Presentations

Guest Editors’ Introduction

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The emergent quest for the good life in rapidly transforming China, Laos, and Vietnam can only be understood as part of the political economy of late socialism. This special issue critically engages with the notion of the good life and its ramifications in late-socialist social life through the perspectives of people and communities living amid political economic changes. In this introduction, we weave together the volume's nine empirical contributions by conceptualizing the good life as a field of struggle in which people grapple with the contradictions of late socialism to realize their vision of a good life. We underscore four domains of action in which people articulate and act out their vision: comfort and pleasure, caring and being cared for, cosmology and nature, and freedom and autonomy. Their practices reveal how the paradoxical value frameworks of late socialism impose limits on the possibilities of living well together. Yet, they also indicate the moral agency of people circulating between seemingly incommensurable social orders.


Original published version available at https://doi.org/10.1215/10679847-10889921

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