Rachel Tough

Rachel Tough
University of East Anglia | UEA · School of International Development

PhD International Development
I am conducting ethnographic research on the COVID-19 pandemic in Vietnam. I am on fieldwork in Ho Chi Minh City.

About

6
Publications
1,057
Reads
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4
Citations
Citations since 2016
6 Research Items
4 Citations
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Introduction
I am a Doctoral Researcher in the School of International Development at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK. My PhD research will produce an ethnographic study of COVID-19 in Vietnam.
Additional affiliations
January 2020 - present
University of East Anglia
Position
  • Associate Tutor
Description
  • Alongside my doctoral research, I have planned seminars and taught students on seven modules as an Associate Tutor. In Feb-Jun 2021, I was Associate Tutor on the teaching team for the module Research Methods in Social Anthropology. I was allocated twelve second year undergraduate students and I supported them to plan and conduct their own ethnographic research projects. Until Aug 2022, I am co-supervising an MA dissertation on motherhood and care roles during COVID-19.
August 2016 - June 2019
Greater London Authority
Position
  • Senior Researcher and Team Co-ordinator (Previously Research and Support Officer (2013 – 2016) before being promoted to lead the team)
Description
  • I led five policy analysts supporting elected politicians in their scrutiny of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s policies; leading on housing policy analysis and budget scrutiny. I researched, drafted, and edited evidence-based reports, press releases, letters, blogs to influence key policy debates in London and fact-checked and edited materials produced by colleagues. I briefed Members ahead of media interviews and public meetings and independently drafted three fully-costed alternative London budgets.
August 2016 - January 2017
All Party Parliamentary Group for Sudan and South Sudan
Position
  • Research Assistant
Description
  • I researched political developments in Sudan and South Sudan one day per week until my position at the Greater London Authority increased from four to five days per week. I contributed to an inquiry into UK-Sudan relations.
Education
September 2009 - September 2010
The University of Manchester
Field of study
  • International Development
September 2005 - July 2008
University of Sheffield
Field of study
  • East Asian Studies

Publications

Publications (6)
Article
Full-text available
In Mobilizing Heritage: Anthropological Practice and Transnational Prospects Kathryn Lafrenz Samuels expands on her previous work exploring the potential for heritage to mobilize social change (2015) and contributes to broader discussions around how heritage functions as a metacultural tool – a mirror that society uses to understand itself as it de...
Article
Full-text available
Book review: The Routledge Handbook of Memory and Place. Edited by Sarah De Nardi, Hilary Orange, Steven High, and Eerika Koskinen-Koivisto. London: Routledge, 2019.
Article
Full-text available
Monsoon (2019) follows thirty-six-year-old Kit (Henry Golding, of Crazy Rich Asians) as he returns to Vietnam for the first time since his family fled to the UK via Hong Kong following war’s end in 1975. In recent decades, the Vietnamese government has relaxed visa requirements for overseas Vietnamese [Việt Kiều], making it easier for emigrants lik...
Article
Full-text available
Vietnam was a remarkable COVID-19 success story, logging zero cases for months on end and keeping life close to normal for much of the population. For much of the pandemic, cases and deaths per 100,000 remained among the lowest in the world (Dong, Du and Gardner 2020, 533-534). But in late April 2021, the highly transmissible Delta variant began to...
Presentation
Full-text available
This presentation (individual paper) provides a brief introduction to my ongoing Doctoral research investigating everyday experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic and pandemic recovery in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Presentation
Full-text available
Slides from presentation at "Conducting field research in social sciences" methodological seminar, 9-10 June 2021, Van Lang University, Ho Chi Minh City. Presentation explains changes made to methodological approach to PhD fieldwork in light of COVID-19 disruption in Vietnam. Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xkchd5CwU64

Projects

Projects (3)
Project
This project draws on approaches in contemporary archaeology to witness and document COVID-19 materiality – posters, signage, murals, graffiti, discarded personal protective equipment, disinfection paraphernalia, barricades – on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam through photographs and sketches to create a fully accessible online archive of COVID-19 heritage. Project webpage: https://imaginingfutures.world/projects/archiving-covid-19-heritage-in-ho-chi-minh-city/
Project
This project, funded through the British Museum's Endangered Material Knowledge Programme, will document the different types of materials, tools, and techniques used by artisans to paint signs and shopboards in Ho Chi Minh City. Visual documentation (audio-visual recording; photography) will create a lasting record of this material knowledge. How this knowledge is embedded in the lived experiences of artisans will be documented in ethnographic field notes and in transcripts of semi-structured interviews and life histories. Project webpage: https://www.emkp.org/documenting-the-knowledge-skills-and-practices-of-the-last-remaining-sign-painters-in-ho-chi-minh-city/
Project
This reserch responds to calls for anthropological studies that document the quotidian practices of the COVID-19 pandemic (Steenberg and Steenberg Rehye 2020) and its temporal dimensions (Andits 2020; Irons 2020; Sarkar 2020). The main aim is, through extended ethnographic engagement, to develop a detailed understanding of everyday experiences of the extraordinary COVID-19 period among members of an urban neighbourhood in Hồ Chí Minh City (Sài Gòn), Vietnam’s most populous city and the country’s economic engine. The project is informed by ethnographic observations (Tough 2021b) from earlier fieldwork when Vietnam’s coronavirus case rates, long among the lowest in the world (Dong, Du and Gardner 2020, 533-534), rose rapidly, bringing widespread social disruption. As an anthropological concept liminality has been noted for its “…capacity to provide explanatory and interpretative accounts of seemingly unstructured situations” (Horvath et al 2015: 3). By applying the concept of liminality to analyse data from my study of social life during the COVID-19 crisis, this research will contribute to developing conceptual and analytical tools for understanding and engaging with reality in the COVID-19 era, as called for by Soto Bermant and Ssorin-Chaikov (2020).