The References of Vietnamese States and the Mechanisms of World Formation
The article provides a method of exploring ideational polities, which proceeds through highlighting the networks of discursive reference, which are made to argue for the nature or existence or right to existence of a given polity. This method enables a comparative study of the state. As case studies, four paramount conceptions of Vietnamese states in the 11th, 15th, and 20th centuries are explored and compared. They show how similarly'and differently geopolitical identity was defined by Vietnamese-speaking state-makers at four crucial junctures in Vietnam's history. They indicate that the state is cofigured but nonidentical with the world. The generation and construction of the world imagined in human mind involves the mechanism of coreference. Coreference is a two-level process complex by which a world is united via semiotic universalization at the level of the codes but remains (or becomes) heterogeneous via semantic reorientation at the level of the contents.
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