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Spatial (re)organization and places of the Brao in southern Laos and northeastern Cambodia

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Abstract:

Initiatives designed to bring about social and spatial change, whether implemented by governments, international agencies, nongovernment organizations or private companies, invariably have an impact on how people perceive ‘places’– defined as spaces with particular meanings. In southern Laos and northeastern Cambodia the ethnic Brao peoples are facing rapid social and spatial changes as a result of a wide range of initiatives, many of which are associated with ‘development’. Case studies on internal resettlement from the uplands to the lowlands, the redesigning of living spaces, and the implications of protected national park establishment and management are discussed in relation to a four-point typology of what is required to constitute place. The role of social and spatial (re)organization on place amongst the Brao is considered, including how peoples' conceptions of place are being altered and how the Brao are variously responding to efforts to (re)organize them and reconstitute their places.

Keywords: Cambodia; Laos; development; place; social organization; spatial organization

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9493.2009.00378.x

Publication date: November 1, 2009

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