Universität BielefeldPlayrectangle-plus
Universität Bielefeld
Menü umschalten

Personen- und Einrichtungssuche

Bsp.: Nachname oder Nachname,Vorname oder Stichwort oder Telefonnummer

Frau Prof. Dr. Minh Nguyen

1. Fakultät für Soziologie / Personen / Professorinnen und Professoren


Professur für Sozialanthropologie


+49 521 106-3719  
Telefon Sekretariat
+49 521 106-70064Sekretariat zeigen
Gebäude X D2-230 Lage-/Raumplan
Nr. 380 im Gebäude X - Magistrale - Ebene C2

2. Fakultät für Soziologie / Arbeitsbereiche / Arbeitsbereich 6 - Soziologie der Transnationalisierung und Sozialanthropologie


Professur für Sozialanthropologie



Sprechzeiten im Wintersemester 2018/19 - Office hours winter semester 2018/19:

Dienstags 16.30-17.30 Uhr nur nach Anmeldung per E-mail

Tuesdays 4.30-5.30 p.m. Appointments only by e-mail


3. Fakultät für Soziologie / Arbeitsbereiche / Arbeitsbereich 6 - Soziologie der Transnationalisierung und Sozialanthropologie / AG Nguyen


Professur für Sozialanthropologie


4. BiSEd-Mitglieder

Curriculum Vitae

I embarked on a transnational life in the early 2000s after having grown up in Thai Binh, going to college in Hanoi, and working in Vietnam’s development sector. I attended the University of Queensland, Australia, for my Master studies, lived in Berlin for several years to earn a diploma in the German language, and completed my PhD on Social Research in International Development at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. Before joining the Faculty of Sociology in early 2018, I was based at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (Saale), Germany for more than six years.

My research centers on the intersection between social anthropology and international development. Of particular interest to me are issues of care and welfare, migration and mobility, and gender and class in East and Southeast Asia. The use of ethnographic research has been central to my studies and understanding of how people experience and act on processes of change and real-world problems in their political, social, and moral contexts.

In my first book, Vietnam’s Socialist Servants: Domesticity, Class, Gender and Identity (Routledge, 2015, paperback 2017), I examine paid domestic service in urban Vietnam after the shift from socialist central planning to a market economy. I locate the dynamics of domestic service within broader transformations in class, gender, and rural-urban relations in the country. Domestic workers and their employers, I show, have to navigate their relationships from changing class positions and subjectivities that, nevertheless, continue to be shaped by socialist ideals and moral economic norms.

My second book, Waste and Wealth: Labor, Value and Morality in a Vietnamese Migrant Recycling Economy (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), highlights how a community of waste traders generates values from waste to transform their economic, social, and moral lives. From their marginalized social position as rural migrants working in urban centers, many have been able to sustain livelihoods, accumulate wealth, and pursue their aspirations, thereby remaking their place in the social order. Yet, this process of value transformation is also ridden with moral anxiety and tradeoffs that characterize the broader dilemma of living the moral life of a person in an uncertain world.

In addition to these monographs, I have coedited special journal issues that address regional and global dynamics of change. Beyond the Global Care Chain: Boundaries, Institutions and Ethics of Care (with Roberta Zavoretti) brings together scholars working in southern contexts to highlight the ambivalence around localized conceptions of care and its effects on moral life and social relations in the context of privatization and restructuring. Two other issues are underway: Southeast Asian Trajectories of Mobility: Translocality, Precarity and Resilience (with Oliver Tappe) which focuses on mobility and precarity; and Beyond the State? The Everyday Politics of Development in Southeast Asia (with Annuska Derks) which explores the moralization of development.


PhD Degree on Social Research in International Development, University of East Anglia,
UK. Degree awarded on 19.07.2011

Kleines Deutsches Sprachdiplom (Diploma in German language), Goethe Institute and
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

Master of Social Planning and Development, School of Social Science, University of
Queensland, Australia (with distinction)

Matriculation in BA Sociology, Hanoi National University, Vietnam

BA English Translation and Interpretation, Hanoi National University, Vietnam


2018- present
Professor of Social Anthropology, Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany
Research Associate, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany


Research Associate, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany
External Lecturer, Martin Luther University, Halle/Saale, Germany

Research Fellow, Focus Group 'Social Support and Kinship in China and Vietnam', Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany

Postgraduate Researcher, School of International Development and International Development Centre UEA, University of East Anglia


Nam Dinh, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (2 months)

Nam Dinh and Hanoi, Vietnam (12 months)

May 2012
Baoshan and Kunming, Yunnan, China

Hanoi, Vietnam (15 months)

Northern Mountains Region, Vietnam (12 months)


October-December 2010
Lead International Consultant on Gender and Climate Change (Climate Change and Coastal Ecosystem Service Program, Vietnam), GIZ and UEA International Development

June-August 2010
Consultant, development of a culturally specific extracurricular program for mixed ethnic schools in Northwestern Vietnam, Centre for Environment and Community Assets Development, Hanoi, Vietnam

Gender and Village Development Planning Consultancies, (Former) German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), Vietnam

Research Assistant for the Northern Mountain Poverty Reduction Project by the World Bank, the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment and the UK Department for International Development (DFID)

Gender Expert, Social Forestry Development Project Song Da (GTZ) and the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development


2007- 2011
University of East Anglia Tuition sponsorship for PhD Degree

June 2010
Brown University, Brown International Advanced Research Institutes, fully funded place at the Development and Inequality in the Global South Institute (declined)

Philip Reckitt Trust, UK PhD fieldwork travel grant

University of Queensland full scholarship for Masters Degree


- Vietnam Studies Group
- European Association of Social Anthropologists
- American Anthropological Association
- European Association of Southeast Asian Studies
- Association of Asian Studies


- American Ethnologist
- American Anthropologist
- Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
- Men and Masculinities
- Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology
- Climate Policy
- Third World Quarterly
- Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
- Asian Population Studies
- Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology
- Cultural Anthropology
- Anthropological Journal of the Canadian Anthropology Society
- Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology’s Working Paper Series
- University of Vienna Grant Program for Doctoral Students
- Central European University PhD Program

Aktuelle Forschungsthemen

Currently, I am pursuing the following lines of inquiry:

Welfare for Migrant Factory Workers under Market Socialism

This comparative research project investigates the welfare provision of migrant factory workers in global factories of Vietnam and China as part of the welfare transformations in these two countries. It does so through a comparative study with two main features: 1) a combination of ethnography and comparative social policy analysis; and 2) a translocal approach that takes into account the workers and their families’ negotiations for welfare across the city and the countryside.

Poverty, Rural Welfare, and Governance in Market Socialist Asia

This research examines the moral and social struggles underlying welfare provisions for the poor as a reinvented social category in the market economies of Vietnam and China through comparative ethnographic studies of two villages.

Mobility, Transborder Encounters, and Moral Economy

Building on my past research of a migrant waste trading network in Vietnam, this ethnographic study focuses on regional networks of waste trading and the ways in which they have emerged in the interlinked shadow economies of mainland Southeast Asia. The research will analyze the construction of moral communities that underpins the regional mobility of waste and people as part of transnational encounters, global economies of recycling, and regimes of values.