ISBN: 9788776940232

Creating Laos: The Making of a Lao Space between Indochina and Siam, 1860–1945

by NIAS

Søren Ivarsson

2008, 240 pp., illus.

  • First comprehensive study of the cultural aspects of Lao nationalism and the emergence of a specific Lao cultural identity.
  • Deals with important aspects of the dynamics that contributed to the creation of Laos under French colonial rule.
  • Draws on primary sources never before used in studies of Lao nationalism.
  • A significant contribution not only to Lao historical studies, but also to the study of nation-building in Southeast Asia.

The existence of Laos today is taken for granted. But the crystallization of a Lao national idea and ultimate independence for the country was a long and uncertain process. This book examines the process through which Laos came into existence under French colonial rule through to the end of World War II. Here, Laos’s position at the intersection of two conflicting spatial layouts of “Thailand” and “Indochina” made its national form a particularly contested process. Rather than analyse this process in terms of administrative and political structures, the book discusses how a specific idea about a separate “Lao space” and its culture was formed.