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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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(p.1) Introduction
The Birth of Vietnamese Political Journalism

Philippe M. F. Peycam

Columbia University Press

This introductory chapter discusses the emergence of the Vietnamese public sphere revolting against the French rule. The Saigon of the 1920s was the center of an anticolonial revolution, with 50,000 to 70,000 men and women defying French colonial order. This phenomenon was further complemented by German philosopher Jürgen Habermas' developmental account of a public sphere in eighteenth-century Europe. The “public sphere” refers to a political framework that lay outside the traditional circuits of authority, which was made up of the educated elite that monitored, challenged, transformed, and had possibly overthrown the ruling power. A similar understanding of the public sphere was made evident in early twentieth-century Vietnam, which was organized within the colonial regime. During these years, print media and activist journalism proliferated and became tools for transforming the status quo.

Keywords:   Vietnamese public sphere, French rule, Saigon, anticolonial revolution, Jürgen Habermas, eighteenth-century Europe, public sphere, print media, activist journalism, status quo

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