By Mandy Sadan
Drawing on long-term fieldwork and study in groups from Assam via to Laos, this booklet deals a special point of reappraisal of the paintings of Edmund Leach and is an important contribution to the advance of a brand new neighborhood anthropology of Southeast Asia.
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Extra resources for Social Dynamics in the Highlands of Southeast Asia (Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 3 Southeast Asia)
2 I borrow this time period from supply Evans (Evans 1991). interethnic platforms and localized identities 129 rather their contrasting historical past of kin with lowland populations. regardless of those transformations, I argue opposed to Cooper’s critique, and in aid of the continued topical worth of the Leachian framework. I assert that Leach’s research permits a greater realizing of the way the historical past of kinfolk with lowland populations has created cultural and political discontinuities in highland villages, which another way declare a standard id. I help those Àndings via investigating the foundation and features of the varied Khmu tmoy (subgroups), and convey how those intra-ethnic solidarities nonetheless inÁuence neighborhood social and political dynamics. exterior Mechanisms of Social switch within the Nam Tha Valley: a quick evaluation Comprising 11 percentage of the full inhabitants of Laos, the Khmu are the biggest minority within the kingdom and in a few parts represent overwhelming neighborhood majorities (see map 1). this can be very true round the Nam Tha valley in northwest Laos, the place they're in touch with customarily Tai populations (Lao, Lü and Yuan) and different small Mon-Khmer teams, fairly the Lamet and the Samtao. In Nalae district (the concentration of this study), Khmu villagers represent approximately 80 percentage of the entire inhabitants, even with no contemplating the combined villages the place a few of them stay along Laos humans (see map 2). Khmu villages during this zone proportion many monetary and social features with the Lamet dwellings of the west financial institution. Villages have a typical dimension of roughly 250 humans and forty families, commonly situated in upland mountain parts among 800 and 1200 meters. such a lot upland villages count solely on slash-and-burn agriculture (with eight to fifteen yr fallow sessions) for his or her subsistence, and feature periodic rice surpluses, which they barter with the neighbouring Tai populations for synthetic items. The kaang (house), klork (local patrilineages), ta’ (clans), and kung (village) represent the fundamental social devices of Khmu villages, with extended family club enjoying a in most cases symbolic function (Lindell et al. , 1979). From the villager’s viewpoint, there aren't any actual, absolute changes in prestige among lineages of a locality. the one exception issues the ritual prestige of the lineage of the founding father of the village, whose male elder has the identify of lkun (priest), and conducts the rituals for the village spirit. whereas transformations of prestige can exist among members, 130 olivier evrard Key NORTH overseas border provincial border district border major roads and tracks Nhot Ou Mon-Khmer populations > forty three % Mon-Khmer populations > seventy three % (from Taillard & Sisouphanthong 2000 : 35) OUDOMXAY provincial centre Houn district centre PHONGSALY Samphanh Mekong tributaries 50 zero CHINA Booneua a hundred km Boontai Sing Khua BURMA Namor lengthy Meung LUANG NAMTHA l. a. OUDOMXAY Viengphoukha Nalaè m Na HUOIXAI Paktha Na mB eng Tonpheung Pha Oudom m Na a Th O u Beng Nga Houn THAILAND Pakbeng LUANGPRABANG c Olivier Evrard, 2005 Map 1: Mon-Khmer populations in northwest Laos interethnic structures and localized identities 131 this doesn't often practice to the full lineage to which they belong.