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Post-war Laos
  • ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute
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More than a quarter of century after the end of the war in 1975, the Lao leadership is still in search for a compelling nationalist narration. Its politics of culture and representation appear to be caught between the rhetoric of preservation and the desire for modernity. Meanwhile, originating from the periphery where ethnic minorities had hitherto been symbolically, politically and administratively confined, the participation of some of their members in the Indochina Wars (1945-75) exposed these individuals to socialization and politicization processes.This rigorously researched and cogently argued book is a fine-grained analysis of substantial ethnographic material, showing the politics of identity, the geographies of memory and the power of narratives of some members of ethnic minority groups who fought during the Vietnam War in the Lao People's Liberation Army and/or were educated within the revolutionary administration. No study has ever been conducted on the latter's views on the national(ist) project of the late socialist era. Their own perceptions of their membership of the nation have been overlooked.Post-War Laos is a set to be a landmark study, and an original contribution which refines established theories of nationalism, such as Anderson's 'imagined community', by addressing a common weakness: namely, their tendency to deny agency to individuals, who in fact interpret their relationship to, and place within, the nation in a variety of ways that may change according to time and circumstance.

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