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Title: Brand consumption in contemporary Vietnam
Author: Pham, Hai Chung
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 6899
Awarding Body: Bournemouth University
Current Institution: Bournemouth University
Date of Award: 2015
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This study aims to explore the features of a particular transnational consumer culture in Vietnam – the younger generation of urban consumers a consumer culture that is shaped by the recent political history of post-socialist era in Vietnam and the country’s economic transition. The research pays particular attention to ways in which globalizing processes in relation to consumption are negotiated and interpreted at the micro level i.e. the level of the consumer. Focusing, in particular, on the influence of brand consumption upon identity, it seeks to understand how these aspirational consumers within the two largest cities in Vietnam, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, define and make sense of themselves as a new emerging consumer force. Assuming a qualitative research orientation, the study uses an interpretivist approach and case study methods to offer in-depth insight into the meaning-making practices of consumers within the context of the Vietnamese ' global' city, and the inter-relationships between globalisation and locality. Surveys were carried out among 600 Vietnamese respondents (610 distributed) in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, to understand precisely the identity work of urban youth through brand consumption. This data was supported by in-depth interviews with 16 urban middle-class and follow-up participant observation to explore the varied ways in which these consumers use and attach symbolic meanings to the products they consume to affirm their social identity, as well as the influence of local and transnational media on brand choices. The findings presented via thematic analysis relate to the emerging themes of Consumption Practices and Identity work (Self, Face and Conformity). The survey results addressing the choices and opinions of CO (country-of-origin) among urban consumers indicate their attitudes toward Chinese brands, Domestic brands and Western brands, specific to the Vietnamese historical, political, economic and socio-cultural context. The findings also suggest that these urban consumers increasingly attach themselves to products to affirm their social status. They believe in ‘material goods bring happiness’ and willingly pay for the latest ‘must-have’ brands. The 'self' in relation to the group or community is important and ways of consuming might be likened to an act of wearing a ‘mask’ by the consumer, which can be ‘loudly’ or ‘quietly’ displayed to fit in favourably with a particular social circle. The thesis concludes by bringing to the fore a discussion of the potential and existent tension of the traditional values and state doctrine in the formation of new consumer culture in Vietnam. The study bridges the gap between local experience and transnational cultural forces by linking features of consumption-based identity to specific agendas associated with the Vietnamese historical, political, economic and socio-cultural context. The research’s insights about class integrated with consumerism can be of value to marketing and advertising professionals in emerging markets.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available