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Seminar

Tools for Thinking Connected Southeast Asia #4

The 4th Social Sciences and Humanities Dialogues:
Connecting through ritual and social media. Technologies of sociality in contemporary Cambodia

May 16th, 2018 at 2 - 5 pm.
Seminar Room of the PhD Program, Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology, (the 4th floor of Social Administration Building), Thammasat University (Tha Phrachan), Bangkok

“Social memory of the Khmer Rouge regime: ritual and religious aspects” by Anne Yvonne Guillou (Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia)

“Imagining Futures in Cambodia through Mobile Phones” by Daniel McFarlane (Thammasat University)

co-coordinated by Juthaporn Elizabeth Kateratorn (Thammasat) et Stéphane Rennesson (IRASEC)

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Social memory of the Khmer Rouge regime: ritual and religious aspects
(Anne Yvonne Guillou - Irasec)

Social memory has been studied for decades by social scientists and can be broadly defined as social constructions of past events collectively experienced and remembered (or alternatively forgotten) by social groups. It has been analyzed primarily by anthropologists in reference to local perceptions of time and space (M. Bloch, A. Gell, A. Iteanu). Other researches in sociology, anthropology and political science have studied its social background (M. Halbwachs, Maurice Bloch, M. Auge), its cognitive dimensions (J. Candau), the political and social stakes of official commemorations (P. Nora, P. Connerton, J. Gillis), the embodiement of past events (D. Fassin) and the transmission of painful memory (D. Graeber, P.Antze et M. Lambek). Using this theoretical literature, Anne Guillou’s research on social memory of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia is also based on ten years of ethnographic field work mainly in Western Cambodia. She has forged a specific methodology over time in order to better understand how the Khmer villagers collectively remember the times of the genocidal regime and copy with losses and painful remembrance. She comes to the conclusion that this memory is anchored in the Khmer religious system in which cults linked to the earth and the dead are crucial components.

 

Imagining Futures in Cambodia through Mobile Phones
(Daniel McFarlane -Thammasat University)

McFarlane's talk will reflect on how futures are imagined, calculated and enacted through communication technologies and corporate marketing in Cambodia. His talk draws on ethnographic research he conducted in a period of rapid change in Cambodia. Mobile phone subscription rates were growing at nearly 50% per year, and nine mobile phone network operators dominated an emerging consumer market. At the forefront of the change were transnational corporations and Cambodian youth. McFarlane explores how the marketers of mobile network services in Cambodia constructed the youth as consumers and how young Cambodians turned mobile phones and networks into an infrastructure for imagining and exploring the future. From this vantage point, he constructs a critique of the representation of new mobile technologies as a reconciliation between neoliberal capitalism and the global poor by detailing the collisions and disjunctures between the imaginings of corporate marketers and Cambodian youth.

 

Co-organized by:
Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology, Thammasat University
Institut de recherche sur l’Asie du Sud-Est contemporaine (Irasec)
Siamese Association of Sociologists and Anthropologists