Post-war Laos: The Politics of Culture, History and Identityby Vatthana Pholsena
Post-war Laos is a thorough and original study of the difficult making of a multi-ethnic nation. Combining a historical approach and a multi-sited ethnography, it provides unique insights into the ideology of ethnicity in Laos. This book is clearly a major contribution to the understanding of one of the less known countries in Asia.—Yves Goudineau, Professor and Scientific Director, École Française d'Extrême-Oreint (EFEO)
examines how the Lao Marxist regime has attempted to construct a legitimizing nationalist discourse by imposing its own cultural preferences, view of history, and ethnic classification. Dr. Pholsena's approach is ethnographic, based on fieldwork in Laos, and historical. Her theoretically sophisticated analysis draws on a wide range of contemporary theory on nationalism, ethnicity and identity to point out the contradictions and paradoxes inherent in the multiple identities that ethnic minority people in Laos have been forced to adopt.
Post-war Laos makes not only an important contribution to the study of Lao identity, society and history, but also more broadly to the vexed problem of multiple identities among the people of Southeast Asia.—Martin Stuart-Fox, Professor Emeritus, University of Queensland