Except on tourist brochures, the indigenous peoples of Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and southern China (Yunnan) are the least visible, and most excluded, of citizens. All these countries have used similar strategies to classify, include, or exclude minority peoples from the project of nationalism. Understanding the cultural and economic trajectories of key minorities such as the Dai, Hmong, Lahu, Akha, and Karen is critical to apprehending the construction, workings, and future of each of these nation-states, indeed of the Mekong region as a whole.
Conversely, as vividly demonstrated here, the minority peoplesmany spanning more than one countryhave adapted and accommodated to, or actively resisted, majority culture and state policy alike. There continues to be undeniable impoverishment, cultural loss, and "social suffering" in some communities, particularly among ex-swidden based upland groups in Vietnam and laos; the rearranging or reconstituting of trading and social networks; the over-commodification of aspects of culture, often for domestic tourism; and struggles to maintain language, rituals, and belief systems.
The studies here bring alive these communities in transformation, pointing out those in near dissolution, such as some Akha villages in Laos affected by overzealous opium-eradication programs, as well as those reclaiming and expanding their cultural space, such as the Dai in Sipsongpanna/Xishuangbanna engaged in a cross-border revival of Theravada Buddhism and Dai culture.
This is essential reading for anyone who wishes to uncover the nuances and interplay of ethnicity, nationalism, and change in the Mekong region, and serves as a companion volume to Living in a Globalized World: Ethnic Minorities in the Greater Mekong Subregion.
|Publisher:||University of Washington Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Prasit Leepreecha and Kwanchewan Buadaeng are researchers at the Social Research Institute of Chiang Mai University, Thailand. Don McCaskill is chair of the Department of Indigenous Studies at Trent University, Canada.
Table of Contents
Tables and Figures vii
Introduction Prasit Leepreecha Don McCaskill Kwanchewan Buadaeng 1
State Policies and Impacts on Indigenous Peoples and Communities
Ethnicity and the Nation-States of Thailand and Vietnam Charles Keyes 13
Ethnic Minorities in Vietnam: Are Globalization, Regionalism, and Nationalism Hurting or Helping Them? Pamela D. McElwee 55
Whose Land, Whose Forest? Contesting Highland Forest Resources in Vietnam To Xuan Phuc 77
Land Allocation and Titling in Laos: Origins, Problems, and Impacts on Minority Groups Bernard Moizo 97
The Akha of Northwest Laos: Modernity and Social Suffering Paul T. Cohen Chris Lyttleton 117
Local Strategies and Challenges
Moving from the Edge: Karen Strategies of Modernizing Tradition Mikael Gravers 143
Karen Perspectives on Schooling in their Communities: Indigenous Knowledge and Western Models of Education Scott O'Brien 181
Landscapes of Literacy: The View from a Lahu Village Judith M. S. Pine 219
Managing Competition and Cooperation: Hmong Social Networks and Village Governance Nathan Badenoch 237
Reconstructing Lahu History inChina Ma Jianxiong 275
Theravada Buddhism in Contemporary Xishuangbanna Roger Casas 289
Moving Dai: The Stories of a Minority Band from the Upper Mekong Wasan Panyagaew 307
About the Contributors 367