This paper presents a group of Muslim descendants of Bawean people living in Hồ Chí Minh City who formalized their citizenship status and as a consequence their official ethnic identity. Much current scholarly literature presents state classification as a state's hegemonic instrument, as an instrument of state power alone. This case study balances the widespread view of the contemporary Vietnamese state as classifying the "motley crowds" within its boundaries, showing that the state leaves room for "indiscipline." Rather than denying their agency in terms of ethnic identification, sympathetic local officials helped these people of Bawean origin to "classify back."
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