What happens on the backstage? Emotion work and LGBTQ activism in a collectivist culture

Author: Yên Mai1
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  • 1 Uppsala University, , Sweden
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The tendency of scholars to conflate ‘social movement’ with ‘protest’ has resulted in a significant lack of studies addressing activists’ emotions in contexts other than public mobilisations. Filling this gap in research, this study moves the focus beyond the frontstage of social movements to investigate how activists, on the backstage, engage in emotion work to cope with the challenges of activism. The data come from in-depth interviews with 12 LGBTQ activists, from the author’s participant observation at an activist training programme organised by a Vietnamese NGO, and from the author’s field notes. The findings reveal a dissonance between the positivity portrayed by the activists on the frontstage and the vulnerability they experience on the backstage of activism, which translates into conscious efforts to manage emotions, whether through collective or individual techniques. Empirically, this article contributes to Southeast Asian LGBTQ activism scholarship, advancing the discussion on what the activist role entails beyond public mobilisations and how activists cope with this multifaceted nature of activism. Theoretically, this study contributes to the sociology of emotion, showing how the collectivist culture offers fertile ground to observe the relationality of emotions, thereby extending Hochschild’s theorisation of emotion work.

Abstract

The tendency of scholars to conflate ‘social movement’ with ‘protest’ has resulted in a significant lack of studies addressing activists’ emotions in contexts other than public mobilisations. Filling this gap in research, this study moves the focus beyond the frontstage of social movements to investigate how activists, on the backstage, engage in emotion work to cope with the challenges of activism. The data come from in-depth interviews with 12 LGBTQ activists, from the author’s participant observation at an activist training programme organised by a Vietnamese NGO, and from the author’s field notes. The findings reveal a dissonance between the positivity portrayed by the activists on the frontstage and the vulnerability they experience on the backstage of activism, which translates into conscious efforts to manage emotions, whether through collective or individual techniques. Empirically, this article contributes to Southeast Asian LGBTQ activism scholarship, advancing the discussion on what the activist role entails beyond public mobilisations and how activists cope with this multifaceted nature of activism. Theoretically, this study contributes to the sociology of emotion, showing how the collectivist culture offers fertile ground to observe the relationality of emotions, thereby extending Hochschild’s theorisation of emotion work.

Introduction

Since the early 1990s, social movement scholarship has undergone an ‘emotion turn’, with an increasing focus on how feelings and affects shape the outcome of movements and activist participation. However, due to a tendency of scholars to conceive of ‘social movement’ and ‘protest’ as interchangeable (see, for example, Eyerman, 2005; Jasper, 2011), this intersection seems not to feature much discussion on emotions in contexts other than demonstrations, crowds or protests. This leaves out other settings in which activism takes place.

This study utilises sociology of emotion to address this gap in previous research. I recognise that activism cannot be reduced to collective mobilisation but rather takes place in various social stages, within which certain emotion mechanisms can be observed or reflected on. Moving beyond the frontstage of a social movement, this study shifts the focus to emotions arising on the backstage (Goffman, 1959), where activists engage in emotion work (Hochschild, 1979) to cope with the challenges of activism.

This investigation, thus, sheds light into the emotional experiences of activists in different settings. Through in-depth interviews and participant observation, I study the emotion work of the Vietnamese youth involved in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) movement. The aim is to highlight the gap between their frontstage self-presentation and their backstage experiences, as well as addressing the various strategies they skilfully employ to bridge this gap and sustain their activism. The analysis will show that the relationality of emotions seems to underline both the frontstage and backstage emotion work that activists reflexively engage in when interacting with one another.

In this article, I first provide the context to the Vietnamese LGBTQ movement and justify how this case selection offers lenses to problematise emotions in activism. Next, I introduce the theoretical frameworks and methods of this study. After presenting my empirical analysis, I discuss how my findings contribute to both LGBTQ activism scholarship and the sociology of emotion.

The Vietnamese LGBTQ movement

The 2010s marks the booming success of the Vietnamese LGBTQ movement. Within this decade, the movement has managed to shift the social positioning of Vietnamese LGBTQs away from the demoralising label of ‘social evils’ – a prevalent stigma applied to this population in the early 2000s – towards social acceptance and legal recognition (UNDP and USAID, 2014). This achievement, in so short a time, can be explained by a combination of tactics LGBTQ activists mobilise to target different facets of the Vietnamese society, strategically advancing their cause.

With a focus on cultural framing, the Vietnamese LGBTQ movement is a typical example of the ‘multi-institutional’ approach to social change, which recognises that power exists across society’s dominant institutions (Armstrong and Bernstein, 2008). Thus, social change requires activists to expand their tactics, directing those not only at the state but also at other institutions. This multi-institutional approach is particularly relevant for movements that focus on revoking stigmas attached to marginalised identities (for example, Gamson, 1989; Gould, 2009; Taylor et al, 2009).

Culture, therefore, is an important site of contention in the LGBTQ movement, which warrants a revisit to the Vietnamese construction of gender and sexuality. Vietnam’s long and complex history of involvement with China results in substantial impact of Confucianism and Taoism on Vietnamese sexual and gender practices. Both philosophies, by emphasising traditional gender roles, sexual dimorphism, and the yin-yang complementary forces, give rise to the cultural expectation of heterosexual union, condemning sexual relationships and identities that deviate from the heteronormative order and framing LGBTQ as an unnatural disease (Mai, 2017). Vietnam prohibited same-sex unions in 2000, and prohibited sex-reassignment surgery in 2005 (UNDP and USAID, 2014).

Only a decade later, significant social changes occurred for this population. Vietnam held its first official Pride event in 2012, decriminalised same-sex unions in 2014, and legalised sex-reassignment surgery in 2015. This dramatic transformation is an outcome of a movement that focuses on elevating the Vietnamese cultural framing of LGBTQ identities through discourses of human rights (Faludi, 2016), essentialism (Mai, 2017), and positive media representations (Oosterhoff et al, 2014). The main drivers of this movement are non-governmental organisations (NGOs) utilising international funding to adopt a ‘meticulously calculated and technocratic approach’ towards social change (Faludi, 2016: 6). These activists meet with the press and law makers to lobby for LGBTQ rights, organise public workshops on LGBTQ issues, promote positive representations of LGBTQs via the media and Pride events, and conduct research projects advocating for LGBTQ equality (Oosterhoff et al, 2014; Faludi, 2016). Promoting media visibility and public acceptance of LGBTQs subsequently leads to law modifications.

The Vietnamese LGBTQ movement, therefore, cannot be understood in the ‘traditional’ sense of activism – as public protests on the street. In fact, such a strategy would be counterproductive in this context due to an authoritarian political climate, which views overtly confrontational behaviour as ‘reactionary’ or ‘regime opposition’, and a collectivist culture, which deters actions that disrupt public harmony (see Gainsborough, 2013). Negotiations conducted by NGOs and civil-society groups offer a more effective strategy to social change (Wells-Dang, 2014; Vu, 2019). The Pride march in Vietnam, consequently, is not described as a ‘protest’; rather, activists refer to it in politically neutral terms (‘event’ or ‘celebration’), which requires permission from the state. Consequently, the emotions prevalent in these public mobilisations are not anger or moral shock, but joy and hope – with a celebratory logic.

The case of the Vietnamese LGBTQ movement, therefore, offers two lenses to problematise the emotion mechanisms involved in social movements. First, since visibility is central to the movement’s success, it follows that managing public representation is extremely important for Vietnamese LGBTQ activists. For those who act as the ‘front faces’ of the movement, this entails constant impression management efforts when they appear in public or in the media. The need to maintain a desirable image can have emotional repercussions for LGBTQ activists.

Second, this case requires us to rethink what it means to be an activist. It demonstrates that a social movement is not simply a protest, nor is an activist a protestor. Vietnamese LGBTQ activists take on multiple tasks – as educators advocating for LGBTQ-friendly knowledge; as grant managers seeking funding to carry out activist projects; as rescuers providing shelters and support for victims of anti-LGBTQ violence; or as event planners ensuring LGBTQ advocacy events run smoothly. Behind Pride celebrations – the front image of the movement – are countless tasks that activists take on to advance the movement’s goal. These tasks, I argue, also entail their own emotional demands that shape these activists’ experiences in the movement.

Acknowledging the multifaceted nature of LGBTQ activism in Vietnam thus warrants an investigation on the emotion dynamics that take place outside public mobilisation contexts. In this article, I focus on how LGBTQ activists bridge the gap between their public performance and private emotional experiences, as well as how they cope with emotional demands. This calls for a theoretical approach that recognises the emotion norms underlying activism, and how these norms shift in different social scenes. To this end, I combine Hochschild’s (1979) emotion work with Goffman’s (1959) two notions of frontstage and backstage as theoretical tools for my investigation.

Theorising emotion work in collectivist cultures

The purpose of this section is twofold. First, engaging with Hochschild (1979) and Goffman (1959), I show why a focus on emotion work on the backstage allows for a deeper understanding of activists’ everyday experiences. Second, acknowledging that these theorists build their perspectives from an individualist cultural context, I argue how the collectivist context of this study can extend their theorisation.

Emotion work, coined by Hochschild (1979), refers to the management of emotions by individuals – whether to induce or inhibit certain feelings – to appear appropriate. Underlying this concept is the premise that any given situation warrants a set of feeling rules that dictate what and how one should feel. Thus, one performs emotion work to achieve the desired emotions or to conceal those deemed as inappropriate. The degree or quality of one’s feelings can be altered by manipulating physiological arousals (the bodily technique), changing gestures or behaviours (the expressive technique), or re-codifying a situation via alternative interpretations and labels (the cognitive technique).

Because emotion work can be done not only ‘by the self upon the self’ but also ‘by the self upon others’ (Hochschild, 1979: 562), this mechanism is acknowledged as an essential aspect of activism. Eyerman (2005: 43), for instance, maintains that activists engage in ‘a form of acting in public’ during demonstrations to provoke desired emotions among onlookers, suggesting that emotion work is at play during external mobilisations. LGBTQ activists have tried to elicit anger (Gould, 2009), collective effervescence (Taylor et al, 2009), and empathy (Harrison and Michelson, 2017) in the public for this purpose. Mobilisations in LGBTQ activism also involve emotion work mechanisms transforming one state of feeling to another: collective shock and grief into anger (Gould, 2009), shame into pride (Britt and Heise, 2000), and grief into love as advocacy (Broad, 2011).

These studies point to scholarly interest in mainly one form of emotion work: that is, ‘by the self upon others’ where activists attempt to sway the emotions of their audience in public mobilisations. When the lens shifts away from protests and demonstrations to a less public type of activism, the interest in emotion work also drops significantly. To use Goffman’s (1959) dramaturgical perspective, this means that scholarly focus on emotion work in activism has centred on the frontstage, where activists – aware of others watching – consciously manage their self-presentation, including their emotions, to achieve desired effects on their audience. Emotion work that takes place backstage of activism, where there is less pressure to perform, has not received equal attention. The few studies that address this gap show that the backstage can be utilised to cultivate hope, inspiration, and commitment to activism (Sørensen and Rigby, 2017). Here, activists sustain their own participation via ‘inwards’ strategies (Jacobsson and Lindblom, 2013; Kleres and Wettergren, 2017): in other words, emotion work ‘by the self upon the self’.

This article explores emotion work on both the frontstage and backstage of LGBTQ activism, with a focus on the backstage and the gap between the two stages. While I utilise Hochschild’s and Goffman’s theoretical frameworks to achieve this aim, I acknowledge that these frameworks have their limitations when applied to study activists in Vietnam, a collectivist culture. As Raz and Rafaeli (2007) point out, the theory of emotion work is not culture-free. Hochschild’s conception of emotion as a person’s property reflects an individualist understanding of emotions, which accordingly views the management and regulation of emotions as a violation of the self. Self-alienation and fragmentation hence become inadvertent outcomes of emotion work in the individualist cultural perspective. In non-individualist (that is, collectivist) contexts where emotions are treated as part of the culture and a social aspect of the self, one’s strict adherence to emotion norms is instead perceived as an effort of becoming one with the collective, and hence integral to one’s social identity (Raz and Rafaeli, 2007; Luo et al, 2019). The collectivist context also requires us to rethink the gap between emotion work on the frontstage and backstage. When emotion is perceived as individual property, one can envision a large gap: performance on the frontstage versus authenticity on the backstage. In collectivist cultures, where one’s relationship with emotions is always intimately tied to making sense of one’s place in the collective (Eid and Diener, 2009), the desire to feel with the group may persist regardless of whether one is on the frontstage or the backstage, necessitating one’s emotion work in both contexts.

While this discussion may deem Hochschild’s and Goffman’s frameworks unfit for investigating emotion mechanisms in collectivist cultures, I argue that the collectivist context provides an opportunity for extending the theorisation of emotion work. As my analysis will show, engaging with this cultural dimension offers fertile ground to observe the relationality of emotions, and deepens our understanding of the motivations activists attribute to their emotion work.

Methods and data

This study follows the feminist methodological tradition, characterised by the recognition that researchers hold the power of knowing and representing others. The researcher-participant relationship is inherently unequal, requiring feminist researchers to be constantly reflexive and transparent in their data collection and interpretation (Doucet and Mauthner, 2008). I address this imbalance in various ways. I utilise participant observation, in-depth interviews and field notes – essential tools in feminist research – to approach the lived experiences of my informants and to highlight their voices in the process of co-constructing knowledge.

The data consist of participant observation at an activist training programme, in-depth interviews with 12 LGBTQ activists, and field notes written during two data-collection phases. I use the phrase ‘LGBTQ activists’ to refer to people who engage in LGBTQ activism; the term, therefore, does not imply anything about these activists’ gender or sexuality. The activists featured in this article consist of both LGBTQ people and cisgender-heterosexual allies.

The first phase of data collection took place in December 2016: with the help of an activist/gatekeeper, I gained access to a training programme organised specifically for young Vietnamese LGBTQ activists. The aim of the programme was to equip leaders of activist networks across the country with knowledge and skills necessary for their advocacy. Organised by an LGBTQ-activist NGO (hereafter referred to as ‘Organisation A’, to preserve its confidentiality), the programme focuses on promoting safety and inclusion for LGBTQ youth in educational institutions.

Organisation A selected 18 activists from across the country to participate in the programme. They were between 18 and 26 years of age at the time of the event. Most held a position of leadership in their own local activist network.

The four-day programme included lectures and activities led by guest speakers from different youth advocacy organisations: two from Vietnam and two from abroad. I introduced myself as a researcher on the first day, and attended all four days while gathering data from participant observation and field interviews. I also conducted in-depth interviews with seven activists/participants during the course of the programme (in the evenings) or after it had ended. Before each interview, I provided my informants with a consent form, specifying their right to withdraw from the study at any time. I explained too that I used recording devices solely for transcription purposes, and obtained consent from all informants to present their narratives.

The second phase of this research took place in July and August of 2017. During this phase, I continued collecting data through in-depth interviews with five activists/participants whom I previously did not have a chance to interview. Moreover, I observed two meetings when activists prepared for Việt Pride 2017. My field notes also included reflections on my interaction with activists outside the interviews.

After the fieldwork, I transcribed and coded the interview data into themes. Emotional experiences were coded based on the use of structure (namely, how emotional events are narrated temporally), figurative language (for example, metaphors, irony and satire), and the stress and intonation of speech (see Kleres, 2011). I present my thematic analysis of the interview data below, along with my fieldwork observation notes. The empirical analysis is structured in three sections to highlight: the making of the frontstage LGBTQ activists; the gap between the frontstage and the backstage; and the different emotion work strategies my informants employ to bridge this gap.

The making of the frontstage: emotions of recruitment

Emotions can be used as a spur to action. Provoking certain emotions in people can get them to abandon routines, adopt new ways of thinking, and turn ‘from bystander to participant’ (Jasper, 2011: 292). For this purpose, activists often elicit righteous anger, moral shock or indignation to convince bystanders that the world is unjust, motivating them to act (Gould, 2009; Woods et al, 2012, Jasper and Poulsen, 1995).

In this study, however, anger and moral shock do not take up much space in the narratives about recruitment. When informants reviewed their strategy to recruit new activists or reflected on their own reason for joining the movement, positive feelings prevailed:
Lâm1:We spread ‘fire’ via big events, like Việt Pride. Young people participate mostly for the fun [...] You can promise them skills to spike their interest. Maybe they’ll stay if they value the team or the experience.
Khánh:Usually we tell these youngsters our goal, what we have accomplished, our next step. You have to give them a purpose, a positive result at first. It’s like giving them a ‘bait’. We try our best to show how joining could benefit them, but ultimately it’s their decision.

These narratives suggest that potential activists are recruited into the movement via a promise of benefits, whether of emotions or concrete incentives. Many informants, concurring with Lâm, stress the importance of community events, which they see as the main venue for channelling affects, passion, and a sense of purpose in the audience. The narratives point to positive feelings as the ‘bait’ at the beginning of recruitment, then attachment and sense of belonging as what prolong participation.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the way these activists make sense of recruitment and its emotions mirrors how they recall their own motivation for joining the movement. When sharing their reasons to become activists, the informants often described a process similar to the ‘foot-in-the-door’ phenomenon – beginning with a small task gradually led to serious involvement:
Thanh:I was enticed [laughs] I joined the activist team in Hai-Phong after someone suggested that I participated in a flash mob for an LGBTQ event. The flash mob was fun. I met many who were just like me. I felt like ‘a fish finding water’. Then I continued volunteering at Việt Pride, participating in trainings, becoming more involved.
Minh-An:I began by volunteering at [an LGBTQ event], where I made friends with many LGBTQ people. I realised LGBTQs are not freaky or repulsive like what people say; instead, they are charming, delightful, adorable. Then I wondered what I would do afterwards. If I stopped then, I wouldn’t get to see them anymore. So I stay: to continue seeing everyone and prolong the joy of working together. I want to keep fighting to sustain this happiness.

Both activists began their participation in activism with a small task: Thanh danced in a flash mob, while Minh-An volunteered at an LGBTQ event. Both referred to not only joy but also a strong sense of belonging during this initial phase, which motivated them to continue their participation. Thanh used a Vietnamese idiom (‘a fish finding water’), referring to his isolation as a closeted queer prior to the flash mob, which was then replaced by the joy of having found his community. For Thanh, participation in the dance (and accordingly, activism) opened a space of joyful belonging that was previously unavailable. Similarly, Minh-An pointed to the joy of cooperation and connection as her motivation. A particular joy stemming from fulfilled desires of becoming a part of a collective shaped both their motivation. By the time the interviews took place, both were experienced activists. This foot-in-the-door phenomenon confirms that people are rarely recruited directly into high-risk/cost activism. Such involvement is the by-product of a gradual process of integration as activists internalise their role (McAdam, 1986).

It is important to acknowledge that such joyful belonging is considered motivating precisely because it stands in direct contrast to how these activists felt prior to their participation. In Thanh’s idiom use, ‘a fish finding water’ not only refers to feeling belonging but also implies that there was little living before ‘water’ was found. Another activist, having experienced transphobic abuse prior to his activism, articulated this stark contrast in the interview:

Nhật: Actually I’d say it was thanks to Việt Pride that I regained my will to live. Back then, I was in a dark place: my family knew about me [being transgender], then I was kicked out. I was penniless, homeless, and just wanted to die. Thanks to [an activist], I knew about Việt Pride. When I arrived at the venue, I saw queers holding hands and kissing. That was the first time I had seen such a scene in public, and I felt it was my safe space. Then they brought out a giant rainbow flag. When everyone gathered under it, I burst into tears. In that moment, I felt that everyone was becoming one, that I was not alone, that I had all these people beside me. It was then I knew I wanted to continue living, so that one day I could organise something similar. To help someone else regain their will to live.

As Nhật reflected on his struggles when he started participating in activism, I asked if activism created more challenges for him, assuming that it costed time and energy. Rejecting my assumption, Nhật emphasised that activism for him was about gaining a sense of belonging, hope and purpose, rather than cost. Similar to Thanh and Minh-An, Nhật identified Việt Pride as the turning point when the desire to become an activist emerged. This shows that the recruitment of new activists is activated not only by the presence of positive emotions but also by the sense of being and uniting with others (‘everyone was becoming one, I was not alone’), which intensifies said emotions. In the interviews, most informants expressed appreciation for Việt Pride, which they considered the most taxing yet also most euphoric time of the year. Such public events become a pool of emotional energy as the crowd channels bodily affects, intensifying the joy and hope felt at the scene. Thus, they put significant effort in organising public events, aware that positive emotions emerge and become contagious in these affective spaces.

Throughout the interview, Nhật referred to his activist network as ‘family’ and as a safe space that offsets the fear, isolation and hopelessness he once felt prior to activism. Similarly, another activist recalled feeling powerless before joining the movement:

Linh: As a child, I wished I had power to make social injustice disappear. My parents forbid me to get involved with politics, so gradually I gave up on that dream because I didn’t know how to go about it […] There are things I went through in life like being sexually harassed, victim blamed and cyber bullied, that I don’t want anyone else to have to experience. I don’t want anyone to feel so powerless like me then, having nobody around to help [...] When I met [Organisation A], I felt a clear sense of direction. I felt my childhood dream returning.

Referring to fighting injustice as a ‘childhood dream’, Linh established that activism was similar to a calling. Her experiences with injustice, while consolidating her desire to help others, also created the feeling of helplessness when there was seemingly no available repertoire for actions. Receiving training from Organisation A gave Linh concrete directions on how to act, which helped her to overcome feeling helpless and restore the calling.

The data suggest that while emotions such as fear or moral shock are not entirely absent from the narratives, they more or less exist as a backdrop of everyday experiences. These activists acknowledge the injustices and try to cope with their injuries, but this struggle itself does not motivate actions. On the contrary, as standalones they carry a devitalising effect, resulting in a general sense of helplessness, isolation, or even the loss of will to live. What makes a difference is participation in public events, where potential activists unite with like-minded comrades, gain tools for actions, and experience joyful belonging, hope and empowerment. The data point to collective emotion work at public events which involves positive feelings, and which appeals to the desire to feel a sense of belonging, whether in terms of one’s identity or one’s activist purpose. This is not to say that negative emotions do not influence these informants’ decision to join activism, but they only become motivating when combining with positive emotions and a sense of togetherness. Kleres and Wettergren (2017) have acknowledged a similar mechanism in climate activists, whose fear, anger and guilt become motivating when mediated by hope. In the case of the Vietnamese LGBTQ movement, this explains why activists unanimously point to joy, hope and sense of belonging as the main emotions of recruitment, and, accordingly, the spur to action.

Frontstage positivity, backstage vulnerability

Previously, I explain why positive emotions are considered central to the process of recruiting new LGBTQ activists. I also show that public events are important venues where the sense of being with others intensifies positive emotions and vitalises those who participate, motivating them to join the movement. Consequently, activists must present themselves as hopeful and empowering in these frontstage contexts:

Nhật: One thing I learned during that training programme was to establish a community image. It’s not like I want to be famous [laughs], but the job of an activist is to inspire people. You need to give them – especially queers who hide in the closet – a sense of hope.

The ‘community image’ Nhật addressed refers to the frontstage-activist self, present at public events, with the aim of inspiring others. This frontstage representation works to challenge a culture of silencing and isolation, allowing ‘queers who hide in the closet’ to come out and become visible. This concurs with previous studies on LGBTQ activism, wherein visibility is recognised as one of the main tactics to challenge cultural stigma against LGBTQs (Johnston, 2007; Bruce, 2013). In Vietnam, the construction of an activist’s frontstage also carries the role of offsetting several risks and challenges underlying one’s association with the movement, namely involuntary outing, family problems, and anti-LGBTQ harassment.

The greatest risk identified in the interviews is involuntary outing: having one’s sexual orientation or gender identity disclosed without one’s consent. This risk, clearly, applies only to activists who identify as LGBTQ. Being outed when one is unready can be threatening: many informants mentioned the case of Nhật, who was outed involuntarily and subsequently kicked out of his family. My interview with Nhật revealed that involuntary outing could also lead to home captivity or conversion therapy (both of which, to Nhật, were much worse than homelessness). The risk of involuntary outing intensifies as an activist becomes more involved with the movement, having one’s image and narrative featured in the media.

Worth noting is that one’s association with the movement alone can already lead to family problems, irrespective of one’s sexuality or gender identity. All except one informant shared that their parents were disapproving of their activist involvement. This can be explained by two reasons: first, in an authoritarian regime where any criticism of the state can be labelled ‘reactionary’ or ‘regime opposition’, association with activism can lead to criminalisation, damaging livelihoods, and detainment (Gainsborough, 2013; Vu, 2019). Second, Confucian values embrace conformity to the collective and respect for authority, making any acts of dissidence problematic. The fear of state repression combined with the desire for collective harmony explains why the parents of my informants consider activism to be either ‘dangerous’ or ‘a waste of time’, thus forbidding them to engage in any kind of activism. Young and financially dependent on their parents, my informants all feared losing family support. Consequently, many felt the need to hide their activist involvement, while juggling it with schoolwork and family duties to appease to their parents.

Association with the movement can also lead to anti-LGBTQ harassment. This risk applies even to activists who are non-LGBTQ: being outed merely from being an ally of this community already carries repercussion in a still dominantly anti-LGBTQ culture. Minh-An, a heterosexual, cisgender person, shared that she was shunned by her classmates and received anonymous death threats after becoming an LGBTQ activist.

My discussion on risks here is to contextualise why these activists construct positivity as central to their frontstage presentation. As Goodwin and Pfaff (2001) note, activists in high-risk movements must utilise strategies to mitigate fear among members. In the Vietnamese LGBTQ movement, the construction of an empowering and hopeful activist figure on the frontstage can be seen as a strategy to mitigate such fear. Consequently, this strategy leads to a stark contrast between these activists’ positive frontstage performance and the grim reality on their backstage, where they wrestle with family problems, financial insecurity, anti-LGBTQ violence, time management, on top of being an activist, which carries its own emotional demands. The following quote demonstrates this stark contrast:

Minh-An: I’m building an optimistic image in public. Everyone considers me a positive person, and I want to keep it that way. The truth is I’m not optimistic or happy. In the last two weeks, I cry every day when I come home.

Minh-An’s narrative displays a conscious effort to maintain an optimistic self-presentation, pointing to positivity as the feeling rules of frontstage activism. As Hochschild (1979) emphasises, feeling rules influence how actors try to feel and act in a situation; here, adapting to the feeling rules of frontstage activism requires Minh-An to display optimism to motivate and inspire others. This leads one to question whether adapting to the feeling rules of positivity, on top of the risks and challenges associated with activism, creates emotional strain for LGBTQ activists. The interviews show that the need to keep this happy front requires activists to constantly engage in emotion work, whether to induce happiness or inhibit despair:

Kim:I cried in the evening. When I met with my team in the morning, I acted cheerful so my feeling wouldn’t affect others. I didn’t want to drag them down with me.
Linh:An activist must be sociable, friendly, approachable, that’s part of the job requirements. It’s a struggle […] Someone said that activists should be friendly and cheerful. But our work is very heavy, sometimes we’re just too tired to smile. We often joke with each other that we should practice our ‘commercial smile’ for the public [laughs].

Both informants show awareness of their emotion work, whether through appearing cheerful or suppressing negative emotions. The need to veil suffering is not a new phenomenon in activism: Nah (2021) shows that underlying high-risk movements are feeling rules that promote courage, sacrifice and selflessness, making activists hesitant to reveal their fears and vulnerabilities. What sets these narratives apart from Nah’s observation is that both informants hint at the notion of a relational self, where one’s emotion work is motivated by the desire to maintain emotional harmony and fulfil social obligations with others. For instance, Kim’s rationale for hiding her suffering is to preserve morale within the team, rather than to establish herself as strong and brave. This pressure is also clear in Linh’s narrative, who implies that activists’ emotional expression is constantly managed by an invisible other (for example, ‘someone’, ‘the public’) rather than by concrete organisational demands. Thus, this reminds us of what Frijda and Mesquita (1995) maintain: in collectivist cultures, emotions have a social-cohesive function. Managing the emotions of oneself and of others then becomes a shared social duty (Eid and Diener, 2009). An activist performing emotion work in a collective culture thus can be perceived as an attempt to fulfil both their activist role (to mobilise others) and their social role (to maintain harmony).

Backstage coping emotion work

Previously, I argue that the need to maintain a happy front is central to the role of Vietnamese LGBTQ activists, translating into frontstage feeling rules of displaying positivity. This stands in contrast with the grim reality of many, who struggle with the risks and challenges pertaining to their roles and identities.

This section addresses different emotion management techniques that activists adopt to handle these challenges. Beyond channelling positive feelings to mobilise others and to sustain their own activism, activists also use bodily, expressive and cognitive techniques of emotion work (Hochschild, 1979) on the backstage to persevere in a role that can be demoralising at times. Linh’s quote from the previous section already shows an attempt to bridge this gap: she makes fun of the frontstage feeling rules, trivialising the need to display happiness as a commercial practice. This joke shows Linh’s and her teammates’ way to cope and to prepare for their frontstage performance. It also suggests that different from Kim, who maintains a frontstage self when with her team, Linh relies on teammates for backstage support. Frontstage and backstage, therefore, are relative notions: they can easily become blurred depending on how activists interact with each other. Teammates can be a source of support (if placed on the backstage) or a source of stress (if placed on the frontstage). An analysis of backstage emotion work thus requires one to contextualise the interactions and relationships between activists and their teammates. I structure this section based on these two backstages: when activists share their struggles with teammates, and when they cope alone.

Collective emotion work

This section utilises participant observation data at the activist training programme in December 2016. On the last day of the programme, Kim asked the participants to join an activity called ‘spider web’. The participants sat in a circle on the floor, facing the centre of the circle. Holding a ball of yarn, Kim mentioned a trait of hers (for example, ‘I care about education equality’), then passed the yarn to anyone who identified with the same trait. This activity continued until everyone received the yarn. Kept above the ground at all times, the yarn created a ‘spider web’ as the ball moved around in the circle.

After the yarn had reached everyone, Kim explained the activity’s purpose: to show how activists in a movement depended on each other, their relationships intertwined. If anyone pulled the string, everyone in the web would be affected. If anyone decided to leave, the whole web would be broken.

The ball of yarn created a visual representation of the activist network, exposing its fragility and ‘loose ends’, yet also strength in collaboration. Soon after Kim’s speech, other activists shared their reflections. By the end of the activity, most were crying. The activity generated a space for sharing discomfort, addressing the discrepancy between frontstage positivity and backstage vulnerability:

Lâm: If you had met me in a different setting, you would have seen a different me. Confident and assertive. Now you are seeing the real me. The truth is I almost gave up [on activism] because it has been too difficult and I feel isolated. [The informant was crying.]

Having observed Lâm throughout the programme, I was startled to witness the abrupt change in his posture as he burst into tears. His bodily expression mirrored his words: his head bowed, his back arched, and his body collapsed on itself as the façade of the composed frontstage-self dissolved. The scene did not seem to unnerve the other activists; rather, it was an encouraging precedent, followed by two admitting to use self-harm to cope:
Minh-An:The past month has been extremely stressful. I have engaged in self-harm. There was one week I came home and cried every day. I couldn’t talk to anyone […] These four days have inspired me. Yesterday was the first time in the last month that I felt joy. [The informant was crying.]
Hiền:Haven’t been to training for a while, I’m glad I’m here this time. I have hurt myself and thought of leaving activism […] Thank you all for the last four days.

Both activists revealed that they had grappled with the decision to leave or stay in activism. The joy of being with like-minded comrades restored their commitment. Consequently, although reflections of emotional suffering and contemplation of quitting activism dominated the discussion, by the end, these activists were hugging each other, vowing to turn ‘tears into actions’. The intensity had an almost drug-like effect: despair and vulnerability transformed into a collective sense of commitment – strong and apparently contagious.

This activity is an apt example for the relationality of emotions, which as Holmes (2010) notes, remains underexplored in Hochschild’s theory. Holmes challenges the notion of interiority, that emotions are interior to individuals, emphasising how people rely on others to reflexively produce a sense of feeling, thinking and being in the world. In accordance with Holmes, I argue that Hochschild’s theory assumes a certain type of individual agency in performing emotions, which may be problematic when applied to studying collectivist cultures. Individuals in this context are not only conscious of matching their emotional expressions with the feeling rules of the scene, but are also more susceptible to the emotions exhibited by others. Addressing the relational component of emotionality extends Hochschild’s emotion work, illuminating the emergence and contagion of emotions during the spider-web activity as a reflexive response. Following the narratives of activist struggles, shared emotions emerged and intensified through reflexivity, uniting actors at the scene and shifting the scene’s feeling rules.

The spider-web activity thus reflects a collective emotion work mechanism, in which the disclosure of vulnerability by an activist could be seen as an attempt to manage the emotions of others and to negotiate the feeling rules of the scene. The sharing consolidates the construction of the circle as a safe space with feeling rules that allow participants to express vulnerability. As activists emote to match each other’s emotions (that is, the expressive technique of emotion work), despair transforms into the joy of togetherness. One can suspect that those who arranged this activity had anticipated not only the sharing of vulnerability but also the collective emotion work resulting from such disclosure. This concurs with what an experienced activist shared with me later:

Nhật: In training programmes, we always have activities to elicit emotions. Experienced activists can benefit from activities that generate not only positive but also negative emotions. Some activities result in everyone yelling at each other, but it’s an effective method to sustain involvement and prevent potential teamwork problems.

Having worked as a trainer in many activist training programmes, Nhật emphasised that such emotion-ridden activities are deliberately placed in these programmes to facilitate the sharing and enactment of strong emotions. Whether the emotions involved are positive or negative, the act of verbalising and expressing them is enough to activate affective responses in the participants, thereby yielding a feeling of unison that strengthens commitment and solidarity. Hence, crying or yelling ultimately leads to shared understanding.

Positive emotions can also be the focus of these activities. The first activity Nhật led as a trainer was one that facilitated positive emotions. In this activity, he described, participants were given a pile of post-it notes to write something positive about other activists in the training. Then they taped the notes on each other’s backs without revealing who wrote what. After the activity, they each received a collection of anonymous compliments. Following this description in the interview, Nhật took out from his wallet a collection of post-it notes he kept from the very activity. The notes contained compliments such as ‘you have a beautiful smile’, ‘you are an inspiring activist’, or ‘I enjoy listening to your speech’. He concluded that the activity’s purpose was to increase positive feelings and connection in the participants. Similar to the ‘spider web’, this activity employs collective emotion work to strengthen solidarity and commitment among activists.

Emotion work on the self

The previous section demonstrates different collective emotion management activities in the activist training programme, in which teammates become a source of support for activists. Teammates, however, can also be a source of stress. In such cases, my informants rely on their own techniques to bridge the gap between their backstage suffering and frontstage presentation (in front of their teammates):

MINH-AN: On the first training day, I felt horrible and couldn’t remember anything from the lecture. I cried a lot when returning home. Then I told myself, I couldn’t keep feeling this way, I needed to get myself together, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to learn anything. The next day I tried to focus on the training. I avoided my teammates, and networked with activists from other regions to distract myself.

At the interview time, Minh-An was struggling through an ongoing conflict in her team; her feelings worsened when she encountered her teammates at the training. Her quote points to the cognitive technique of emotion work: Minh-An focused on the need to learn from the training to shift her attention from pain. Underlying this cognitive shift is not only her approach to the workshop through a professional lens but also her sense of responsibility towards a larger collective (the LGBTQ community) that necessitates emotion work.

Interestingly, my observation data show that during the training, all activists maintained the professional composure that Minh-An mentioned. This frontstage image was, however, shattered as soon as they participated in the spider-web. The same physical place and the same audience, through a single activity, moved from a frontstage to a backstage context. Underlying this shift is a shared agreement on the shifting feeling rules at the scene: as soon as one activist expressed their own vulnerability, activating affective responses from others, the feeling rules shifted away from the professional frame, bringing the participants into the backstage. Through this stage-shift, the collective emotion work transforming despair to solidarity, which I previously outlined, took place.

Beside teamwork problems, LGBTQ activists also face emotional challenges particular to their task in the movement. Some provide counselling and shelters for LGBTQ youth or victims of anti-LGBTQ violence, an emotionally demanding task in itself:

Nhật: I work in [LGBTQ] counselling, and need to ‘take out the trash’ after every meeting. After organising a big event, I will be ‘down function’ for a few weeks and need to stay away to ‘detox’.

Having lived a precarious life with transphobic abuse and homelessness, Nhật was cautious with situations that could provoke his past traumas. His activist role, however, required him to remain informed of ongoing anti-LGBTQ violence, while maintaining the hopeful frontstage representation to empower the victims. Working with traumatised groups requires one to manage strong emotions to ‘withstand the feelings of anxiety, anger, sorrow and fear’ (Goodwin et al, 2004: 422; Rodgers, 2010). Consequently, Nhật had periods of hiding away to manage these intense emotions retrospectively, while preserving the positive frontstage impression. Another activist experienced similar tensions:

Linh:  When I began as a trainer, it was stressful. I often felt anxious when the trainees asked sexist, triggering questions. Now I’m practising to become more patient, to not be triggered so easily. Before entering a training, I tell myself that these people do not mean to be hurtful. They just don’t understand the issue, their opinion may sound bad, but it’s not intentional. [...] Meeting people wears me out. I regain energy by being alone, listening to music, or meditating.

Similar to Nhật, Linh suffered from a history of being abused without help, leading her to feel anxious when meeting people. Her role as a trainer-activist required her to manage this anxiety and to navigate through ‘triggering questions’ without ‘feeling triggered’.2 Linh managed her anxiety using the cognitive technique to help her label upcoming situations as harmless, and the bodily technique to de-stress after a performance. In the interview, she also revealed that she “occasionally cuts” herself to cope, as “the negative feelings just come right out of the cuts”. Arguably, resorting to self-harm is also a technique of emotion work, a not-so-uncommon physical method employed by the informants of this study. The frequency, Linh shared, gradually decreased, as she gained support from her teammates.

This section outlines various emotion work strategies that Vietnamese LGBTQ activists employ to cope with the challenges of activism. When with teammates, activists can engage in collective emotion management activities to express vulnerabilities and empathise with each other, thus sustaining solidarity and commitment. When alone, activists rehearse for their frontstage performances, which helps them take control of upcoming performances. They can also ‘detoxify’ from a stressful performance, whether by meditation or by physically distancing from venues they perceive as ‘draining’ or ‘triggering’. Vietnamese LGBTQ activists not only are aware of the emotion work pertaining to their role, but also skilfully manage their emotions to adapt to the feeling rules of a situation.

Conclusion

This study investigates the emotional experiences of Vietnamese LGBTQ activists, with the aim to highlight the contrast between their frontstage performances and backstage experiences (Goffman, 1959), and to address the emotion work strategies (Hochschild, 1979) they skilfully employ to manage this gap.

The empirical findings suggest that Vietnamese LGBTQ activists are aware of the discrepancy between the positivity they portray on the frontstage and the vulnerability they experience on the backstage. This translates into various emotion work techniques to bridge this gap. Collective emotion work on the backstage can take on the form of training activities, through which despair and suffering transform into joy and hope, consolidating activists’ commitment towards the movement. Activists also do emotion work individually, using cognitive techniques to manage interpretations of upcoming frontstage performances or bodily techniques (for example, meditation) to regain emotional balance afterwards. Through my analysis, I show that whether a scene is perceived as frontstage or backstage depends on the feeling rules (Hochschild, 1979) agreed by the actors at the scene. As actors negotiate the definition of a situation, the norms of conducts shift accordingly, allowing for a shift in what are considered appropriate emotional displays.

While this study presents an application of Hochschild’s and Goffman’s theories, I acknowledge that these frameworks, developed in individualist cultural context, have limitations in addressing emotion work in cultures where collectivism prevails. In a collectivist atmosphere, individuals try to modify themselves to conform to the group, which suggests that they are more likely to adapt and respond reflexively to the emotions of others. The case of emotion work in Vietnamese LGBTQ activism hence presents an opportunity to extend Hochschild’s theory. Addressing the relationality of emotion (see Holmes, 2010) helps enrich the analysis on internal collective emotion work, showing how a scene can be shifted from the frontstage to the backstage via collective negotiation in feeling rules.

This study, therefore, has several contributions. First, it contributes to existing scholarship on emotions in social movements, advancing the discussion on what the activist role entails beyond public mobilisation contexts. I highlight that activists are not simply protestors, and argue that recognising the multifaceted nature of activism allows us to unveil different emotional experiences and emotion management strategies attached to the activist role. Second, the study contributes to the sociology of emotion, furthering the interactionist perspective on the transient norms of emotions underlying social interactions. I show that, in a collectivist culture, frontstage and backstage are particularly relative notions since actors can stage-shift through negotiating with others on the feeling rules at the scene. Third, the study shows how cases from collectivist cultures can extend Hochschild’s emotion work. This cultural setting requires individuals to manage emotions to maintain collective harmony, since their emotion cannot be conceived of as private but, instead, as a social dimension of the self. By extension, collective emotion work means feeling the pulse of the collective and attempting to match one’s emotions to preserve collective morale, a decision motivated by one’s sense of duty towards others (rather than by organisational norms). Becoming an activist, in this case, means becoming a part of a collective: where joy and pain are reflexively felt and shared.

Notes

1

For confidentiality, I use pseudonyms to present my informants.

2

Norms of gender dichotomy and homonormativity prevail in the Vietnamese LGBTQ community, resulting in separation and hierarchical relations among different groups. Bisexual and transgender people are particularly vulnerable to prejudice and discrimination from gay men and lesbians (Mai, 2017). While training potential LGBTQ activists, Linh often encountered those who, despite having genuine intention, still hold such prejudices.

Acknowledgements

I wish to thank the editor of Emotions and Society, Mary Holmes, and the two anonymous reviewers for their keen reading of this article. I also thank Sandra Torres, Tora Holmberg and Suruchi Thapar-Björkert for their advice, suggestions and editorial insights. Finally, I thank the two research groups Emotion–Justice–Interaction and Cultural Matters in the Department of Sociology at Uppsala University for their feedback on the early versions of this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.

References

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Britt, L. and Heise, D. (2000) From shame to pride in identity politics, in S. Stryker, T. Owens, and R. White (eds) Self, Identity, and Social Movements, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, pp 25268.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Broad, K.L. (2011) Coming out for parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays: from support group grieving to love advocacy, Sexualities, 14(4): 399415. doi: 10.1177/1363460711406792

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bruce, K.M. (2013) LGBT Pride as a cultural protest tactic in a southern city, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 42(5): 60835. doi: 10.1177/0891241612474933

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Doucet, A. and Mauthner, N. (2008) Qualitative interviewing and feminist research, in P. Alasuutari, L. Bickman and J. Brannen (eds) The SAGE Handbook of Social Research Methods, London: Sage, pp 32843.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eid, M. and Diener, E. (2009) Norms for experiencing emotions in different cultures: inter-and intra-national differences, in Culture and Well-Being, E. Diener (ed) Dordrecht: Springer, pp 169202. 

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eyerman, R. (2005) How social movements move: emotions and social movements, in H. Flam and D. King (eds) Emotions and Social Movements, London: Routledge, pp 4156.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Faludi, L. (2016). The Vietnamese LGBT Movement and the Media. Framing and Re- Framing, Master’s thesis, Hamburg: University of Hamburg, https://www.academia.edu/27645181/The_Vietnamese_LGBT_Movement_and_the_Media_Framing_and_re_framing_homosexuality_in_Vietnamese_public_and_media_discourses

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Frijda, N.H. and Mesquita, B. (1995) The social roles and functions of emotions, in S. Kitayama and H.R. Markus (eds) Emotion and Culture: Empirical Studies of Mutual Influence, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, pp 5187.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gainsborough, M. (2013) Vietnam: Rethinking the State, London: Zed Books. 

  • Gamson, J. (1989) Silence, death, and the invisible enemy: AIDS activism and social movement ‘newness’, Social Problems, 36(4): 35167. doi: 10.2307/800820

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goffman, E. (1959/1978) The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, London: Harmondsworth.

  • Goodwin, J. and Pfaff, S. (2001) Emotion work in high risk social movement: managing fear in the US and East German civil rights movement, in J. Goodwin, J. Jasper and F. Polletta (eds) Passionate Politics – Emotions and Social Movements, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, pp 282302.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Goodwin, J., Jasper, J.M. and Polletta, F. (2004) Emotional dimensions of social movements, in D. Snow, S. Soule and H. Kriesi (eds) The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, Oxford: Blackwell, pp 41332.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Gould, D.B. (2009) Moving Politics: Emotion and ACT UP’s Fight against AIDS, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

  • Harrison, B.F. and Michelson, M.R. (2017) ‘What’s love got to do with it?’ Emotion, rationality, and framing LGBT rights, New Political Science, 39(2): 17797. doi: 10.1080/07393148.2017.1301311

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hochschild, A. (1979) Emotion work, feeling rules, and social structure, American Journal of Sociology, 85(3): 55175. doi: 10.1086/227049

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holmes, M. (2010) The emotionalization of reflexivity, Sociology, 44(1): 13954. doi: 10.1177/0038038509351616

  • Jacobsson, K. and Lindblom, J. (2013) Emotion work in animal rights activism: a moral-sociological perspective, Acta Sociologica, 56(1): 5568. doi: 10.1177/0001699312466180

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jasper, J. (2011) Emotions and social movements: twenty years of theory and research, Annual Review of Sociology, 37: 285303.  doi: 10.1146/annurev-soc-081309-150015

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jasper, J. and Poulsen, J.D. (1995) Recruiting strangers and friends: moral shocks and social networks in animal rights and anti-nuclear protests, Social Problems, 42(4): 493512.  doi: 10.2307/3097043

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Johnston, L. (2007) Mobilizing pride/shame: lesbians, tourism and parades, Social & Cultural Geography, 8(1): 2945.

  • Kleres, J. (2011) Emotions and narrative analysis: a methodological approach, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 41(2): 182202. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-5914.2010.00451.x

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kleres, J. and Wettergren, Å. (2017) Fear, hope, anger, and guilt in climate activism, Social Movement Studies, 16(5): 507519.

  • Luo, A., Guchait, P., Lee, L. and Madera, J.M. (2019) Transformational leadership and service recovery performance: the mediating effect of emotional labor and the influence of culture, International Journal of Hospitality Management, 77: 3139.  doi: 10.1016/j.ijhm.2018.06.011

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mai, Y. (2017) Constructing queerness in Vietnam: essentialism, homonormativity, and social hierarchy, Sosiologia, 54(4): 393409. 

  • McAdam, D. (1986) Recruitment to high-risk activism: the case of freedom summer, American Journal of Sociology, 92(1): 6490. doi: 10.1086/228463

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nah, A. (2021) Navigating mental and emotional wellbeing in risky forms of human rights activism, Social Movement Studies, 20(1): 2035. doi: 10.1080/14742837.2019.1709432

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Oosterhoff, P., Hoang, T.A. and Quach, T.T. (2014) Negotiating Public and Legal Spaces: The Emergence of an LGBT Movement in Vietnam, IDS Evidence Report 74, Brighton: IDS.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Raz, A.E. and Rafaeli, A. (2007) Emotion management in cross-cultural perspective: ‘smile training’ in Japanese and North American service organizations, in C. Härtel, N. Ashkanasy and W. Zerbe (eds) Functionality, Intentionality and Morality (Research on Emotion in Organizations), Vol 3, Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp 199220.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rodgers, K. (2010) ‘Anger is why we’re all here’: mobilizing and managing emotions in a professional activist organization, Social Movement Studies, 9(3): 27391. doi: 10.1080/14742837.2010.493660

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sørensen, M.J. and Rigby, A. (2017) Frontstage and backstage emotion management in civil resistance, Journal of Political Power, 10(2): 21935.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Taylor, V., Kimport, K., Van Dyke, N. and Andersen, E.A. (2009) Culture and mobilization: tactical repertoires, same-sex weddings, and the impact on gay activism, American Sociological Review, 74(6): 86590. doi: 10.1177/000312240907400602

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) (2014) Being LGBT in Asia: Vietnam Country Report, Bangkok. https://www.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/documents/1861/Being_LGBT_in_Asia_Viet_Nam_report_ENG.pdf

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  • 1 Uppsala University, , Sweden

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