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Seeking the Dead

Narratives of Journeys in Vietnam

Monique Selim

This article focuses on the search for people killed in the war of liberation fought by the Vietnamese against the United States. The author, an anthropologist, worked in a special center in Hanoi dedicated to this type of search. Her aim was to discover the logic guiding the behavior of the families who undertook lengthy journeys at considerable expense to find the bodies of deceased relatives. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, finding the victims of the war became a mass development in Vietnam, abundantly covered and promoted by the local media. All social strata appeared to be involved, with little variation, despite differing levels of education. This detailed study of family journeys is based on numerous witnesses’ accounts.