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The Birth of Vietnamese Political JournalismSaigon, 1916-1930$
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Philippe Peycam

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158503

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158503.001.0001

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French Republicanism and the Emergence of Saigon’s Public Sphere

French Republicanism and the Emergence of Saigon’s Public Sphere

(p.34) Chapter 2 French Republicanism and the Emergence of Saigon’s Public Sphere
The Birth of Vietnamese Political Journalism

Philippe M. F. Peycam

Columbia University Press

This chapter recounts how French republicanism spurred the formation of Saigon's public sphere. The French colonial quest sought to undertake a “humanitarian” duty to “civilize” and “educate” through a policy of gradual cultural transformation. This civilization mission was recast among its wing populations, such as the Vietnamese. The morale of the French was severely shaken as two unconnected events, the unstable administration and the outbreak of violence in Vietnam, occurred. In response, Radical Party politician Albert Sarraut was appointed governor-general of Indochina, signaling that Paris was seeking political arrangements with Vietnam. He devised the “Franco-Vietnamese collaboration” in order to engage Vietnamese members in political participation through press intervention. The colonial press, which flourished after 1900, constituted the main channel of political expression for the French colons, as it would later for the Vietnamese.

Keywords:   French republicanism, Saigon, public sphere, civilization mission, Albert Sarraut, Indochina, Paris, Franco-Vietnamese collaboration, colonial press

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