Colonial Legacy

French Retirees in Nha Trang, Vietnam Today

in French Politics, Culture & Society
Anne RaffinAssociate Professor, Sociology Department, National University of Singapore

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Based on interviews with thirty-eight French retirees living in the seaside city of Nha Trang, Vietnam, this article queries their reasons for migrating and investigates how they make sense of their life abroad. I consider Vietnam's historical connection with the French empire as a possible component of lifestyle migration and meaning. This small-scale study indicates that colonial memories and historical ties between France and Vietnam do influence many interviewees’ choice of place of retirement. However, for most, the personal and social amenities afforded by a tropical life in the present tend to eventually displace such memories.

Contributor Notes

Anne Raffin is Associate Professor in the sociology department at the National University of Singapore. She specializes in historical sociology, focusing on French colonialism in Asia and its legacies. Her research has concentrated on French Indochina and colonial Pondicherry, India. Email:

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