The recent global economic crisis has called into question triumphalist narratives of neoliberal capitalism and its global uniformity. In this introduction to the special issue on Vietnam, we examine Vietnamese “market socialism” as a fertile site for considering how transnational neoliberalism and state socialism have intersected to shape knowledge, governmentality, and everyday cultural practices. We ask, how does the endurance of socialist interpretive frameworks and logics of morality contest or rework neoliberalism and its global modes of regulation? Conversely, how might socialist continuities work in conjunction with neoliberalism to affirm its basic tenets? We argue for an understanding of transnational neoliberalism as a globally diverse set of technical practices, institutions, modes of power, and governing strategies informed by cultural and historical particularities. We caution against addressing “neoliberalism” as a uniform project that signifies the retreat of government or the triumph of a global market economy that fetishizes the “free”; instead we call for more attention to the ways in which socialism is deeply, though unevenly, woven into particular cultural forms, political practices, and historical legacies to ask, What if anything is unique about “neoliberalism” in socialist Vietnam, and to what extent is neoliberalism a useful lens for thinking through contemporary socioeconomic change in Vietnam?

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