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ANU Crawford School of Public Policy presents


Speculation speculation: Everyday views of property investors, urban planning, and developers in Ho Chi Minh City


RE&D Research Seminar


28th May 2020


Seminar Room 2, Crawford School of Public Policy, #132 Lennox Crossing, ANU


Professor Erik Harms, Yale University



Join us for this RE&D research seminar by visiting researcher Associate Professor Erik Harms of Yale Anthropology exploring the dynamics and impacts of real estate speculation in urban Vietnam.

This talk develops the concept of ‘speculation speculation’, which refers to the way city dwellers regularly and pervasively speculate about the activities of real estate speculators. Building from several cases in urban Vietnam, this study argues that speculation speculation produces two contradictory effects. On the one hand, it offers a continuous and ongoing critique of real estate speculation. On the other hand, the speculative nature of these critiques inadvertently normalises the practice of real estate speculation (which itself becomes understood as something continuous and ongoing). While speculation speculation plays something of a watchdog role, it also perpetuates the notion that speculative activity is an unavoidable fact of life in urban development.

Professor Erik Harms is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Yale University specialising in Southeast Asia and particularly Vietnam. His areas of expertise are post-war Vietnam, urban anthropology, as well as theories of space, time, and social action. He is the author of numerous journal articles, as well as two books Luxury and Rubble: Civility and Dispossession in the New Saigon and Saigon’s Edge: On the Margins of Ho Chi Minh City, for which he was awarded the 2014 Harry J. Benda Prize.

The seminar will be facilitated by RE&D’s Dr Phuc To.

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