Cultural Evolution in Vietnam’s Early 20th Century: A Bayesian Networks Analysis of Franco-Chinese House Designs

Centre for Interdisciplinary Social Research, Phenikaa University, Working Paper No. PKA-1901

37 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2019

See all articles by Quan Hoang Vuong

Quan Hoang Vuong

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management

Quang-Khiem Bui

(NEU) National Economics University of Vietnam

Viet-Phuong La

Vuong & Associates

Thu-Trang Vuong

Vuong & Associates

Manh-Toan Ho

A.I. for Social Data Lab, Vuong & Associates; Centre for Interdisciplinary Social Research, Phenikaa University

Hong Kong Nguyen

Toan Viet Info Service

Ngoc Nguyen Hon

Ho Chi Minh City University of Fine Arts

Nghiem Phu Kien Cuong

Vuong & Associates

Tung Ho

Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences - Institute of Philosophy

Date Written: January 25, 2019

Abstract

The study of cultural evolution has taken on an increasingly interdisciplinary and diverse approach in explicating phenomena of cultural transmission and adoptions. Inspired by this computational movement, this study uses Bayesian networks analysis, combining both the frequentist and the Hamiltonian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) approach, to investigate the highly representative elements in the cultural evolution of a Vietnamese city’s architecture in the early 20th century. With a focus on the façade design of 68 old houses in Hanoi’s Old Quarter (based on 78 data lines extracted from 248 photos), the study argues that it is plausible to look at the aesthetics, architecture, and designs of the house façade to find traces of cultural evolution in Vietnam, which went through more than six decades of French colonization and centuries of sociocultural influence from China. The in-depth technical analysis, though refuting the presumed model on the probabilistic dependency among the variables, yields several results, the most notable of which is the strong influence of Buddhism over the decorations of the house façade. Particularly, in the top 5 networks with the best Bayesian Information Criterion (BIC) scores and p<0.05, the variable for decorations (DC) always has a direct probabilistic dependency on the variable B for Buddhism. The paper then checks the robustness of these models using Hamiltonian MCMC method and find the posterior distributions of the models’ coefficients all satisfy the technical requirement. Finally, this study suggests integrating Bayesian statistics in the social sciences in general and for the study of cultural evolution and architectural transformation in particular.

Keywords: Cultural Evolution, Hanoi Architecture, Old Quarter, House Façade, Buddhism, FrancoChinese Style, French Colonialism, Bayesian Network, Hamiltonian Markov Chain Monte Carlo

Suggested Citation

Vuong, Quan Hoang and Bui, Quang-Khiem and La, Viet-Phuong and Vuong, Thu-Trang and Ho, Manh-Toan and Nguyen, Hong Kong and Nguyen Hon, Ngoc and Cuong, Nghiem Phu Kien and Ho, Tung, Cultural Evolution in Vietnam’s Early 20th Century: A Bayesian Networks Analysis of Franco-Chinese House Designs (January 25, 2019). Centre for Interdisciplinary Social Research, Phenikaa University, Working Paper No. PKA-1901 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3323354 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3323354

Quan Hoang Vuong

Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) - Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management ( email )

ULB CP 145/01
21 Ave. F.D. Roosevelt
Brussels 1050
Belgium
+32-2-6504864 (Phone)
+32-2-6504188 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.solvay.edu/profile/dr-vuong-quan-hoang

Quang-Khiem Bui

(NEU) National Economics University of Vietnam ( email )

207 Giai phong Road
Hai Ba Trung District
Hanoi, Hanoi 10000
Vietnam

Viet-Phuong La

Vuong & Associates ( email )

3/161 Thinh Quang
Dong Da District
Hanoi, 100000
Vietnam

Thu-Trang Vuong

Vuong & Associates ( email )

3/161 Thinh Quang
Dong Da District
Hanoi, 100000
Vietnam

Manh-Toan Ho (Contact Author)

A.I. for Social Data Lab, Vuong & Associates ( email )

3/161 Thinh Quang
Dong Da District
Hanoi, 100000
Vietnam

Centre for Interdisciplinary Social Research, Phenikaa University ( email )

Yen Nghia Ward, Ha Dong District
Hanoi, 100803
Vietnam

Hong Kong Nguyen

Toan Viet Info Service ( email )

D4 Giang Vo
Ba Dinh
Hanoi
Vietnam

Ngoc Nguyen Hon

Ho Chi Minh City University of Fine Arts ( email )

Vietnam

Nghiem Phu Kien Cuong

Vuong & Associates ( email )

3/161 Thinh Quang
Dong Da District
Hanoi, 100000
Vietnam

Tung Ho

Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences - Institute of Philosophy ( email )

1 Lieu Glai
Ba Dinh
Hanoi
Vietnam

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