Bureaucratic migrants and the power of prosperity in upland Laos

Singh, Sarinda (2011) Bureaucratic migrants and the power of prosperity in upland Laos. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 41 (2). pp. 211-231.

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Abstract

This paper argues that Lao bureaucrats who migrate to the uplands offer possibilities for re-thinking the immutability of upland–lowland distinctions and the power of the modern state. The specific focus is on low-ranking government officials on the Nakai Plateau in central Laos who are positioned at the nexus of state authority, development schemes and the rural poor. Nakai is a site of nationally significant resource utilisation and practices that has provided a model for development across the country. Officials' experiences in Nakai suggest that the upland–lowland contrast can provide valuable understandings of power when combined with an awareness of social processes that reproduce and shift the meanings ascribed to these nominally distinct domains. Significantly, the experiences of mobile marginal officials highlight an idea of state power as the potential to grant prosperity.

Item ID: 27844
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1474-0680
Date Deposited: 27 Jun 2013 02:10
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1601 Anthropology > 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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