Education through Comprehensive and Dominant Cultural Policies

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  • Title: Education through Comprehensive and Dominant Cultural Policies: Reader-People of 1945–1975 Vietnamese Socialist Realist Literature
  • Author(s): Quoc Hieu Le
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Humanities Education
  • Keywords: Reader-People, Socialist Realism, North Vietnam, South Vietnam, Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Republic of Vietnam
  • Volume: 21
  • Issue: 2
  • Date: April 28, 2023
  • ISSN: 2327-0063 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-2457 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Le, Quoc Hieu. 2023. "Education through Comprehensive and Dominant Cultural Policies: Reader-People of 1945–1975 Vietnamese Socialist Realist Literature." The International Journal of Humanities Education 21 (2): 29-57. doi:10.18848/2327-0063/CGP/v21i02/29-57.
  • Extent: 29 pages

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If Southern Vietnam literature (1954–1975) can be considered as a continuation of prewar culture (1932–1945) to a certain extent, then Northern Vietnam literature breaks away from prewar culture to create a new culture, namely, socialist realist culture, and a new type of reader who has yet to be seen in the history of literature: the reader-people. The entire North Vietnam education system was oriented toward communist ideology and became part of the propaganda machine. Mass education is an essential revolutionary strategy of politicized literature and art in socialist countries. Through various comprehensive and dominant cultural policies, the ultimate goal of this educational process was to create a unified mass of people and mobilize them to fight and sacrifice themselves for the revolutionary cause. The reader-people of socialist realist literature were the product of this comprehensive and dominant educational process. This article delves into several cultural and political mechanisms that served as a tool to create the reader-people as a hybrid triad consisting of authorities (party censorship agencies), party-led “red” writers and artists, and the masses as the readers. However, inadequacies remained after the construction of the reader-people, which is characteristic of the political services of socialist countries though beneficial for two primary goals: to build socialism in the north and liberate the south to reunify the country. In Vietnam, the reader-people gradually disappeared before the decline of socialist realist literature after 1975. This article contributes to the scholarship of socialist realist culture not limited to only Vietnam a specific analysis of the construction of the reader-people via all-encompassing and dominantly politicized cultural policies.