Capricious worlds. Vietnamese life journeys
(Comparative anthropological studies in society, cosmology and politics 2)
Münster: Lit Verlag 2005
209 pp., Euro 24.90; ISBN 3-8258-8108-3

Cultural distance and "ethnographic refusal". On the ethnography of Iranian nomadic societies
##"Capricious worlds" covers a period of 20 years of exile. Through the life journeys of Vietnamese refugees, the book presents a world rich in experience and wisdom, where the will to survive is complemented by the skills to do so. Individuals must learn to conquer systems that transform human beings into numbers, and men, women and children into de-personlized figures. The transformations render an unsettling peace that refugees struggle against, inspired by a search for recognition, a search not only for what is lost, but also for what might yet be. The book is about refugees en route to, and in, Norway. It also speaks to the challenges of being exiled in general: a reality for 40 million refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide.##
##The [narrative] chapters in this book are composed on the basis of observation among, and conversation with, Vietnamese refugees in camps of Southeast Asia, in Norway and in the USA. Our encounters varied from brief moments of question, answer and awkward silence, to extensive interviews that surfed between dialogue and monologue... The narratives were mainly focused on five types of relations: 1) between compatriots in Norway, 2) between expatriates in diaspora, 3) between diaspora and the homeland, 4) between refugees and native Norwegians, and 5) between refugees and the authorities, including relief workers.##

Keywords: refugees, coping of refugees, diaspora of Vietnamese, Vietnamese refugees