Praise for Projectland
This rich ethnographic study tells the story of how a Lao highland village community has successfully relocated to establish a new lowland village that is a ‘model’ in the eyes of the socialist state, but one that also expresses their own cultural values. The book breaks new methodological grounds in that it is not only a study of a village, but also a study from a village on important matters of general interest. Ten years in the making, the author’s vivid prose portrays the very human story of how people negotiate the conflicting demands of a socialist state, the market, kin, and the desires of different individuals to create a world that is meaningful to them. This book, a model of how ethnographic analysis should be done, will be of interest to scholars and students from all disciplines interested in understanding life in rural Southeast Asia today.Chris Gregory, Australian National University.
breathtakingPierre Petit, Maître de recherche au FNRS et chargé de cours à l’ULB
Directeur de la revue Civilisations.
Projectland destroys some simplistic assumptions concerning ethnic minorities and their relation to the (socialist) state. It takes individual subjectivities and desires seriously, and highlights the social fragmentation below the surface of village ‘unity.’ The author provides a lucid analysis of the functioning of the Lao socialist Party-state at the margins, discussing the dialectic of transformation and resilience. High’s analysis goes beyond many village studies that mainly focus on livelihood and economic transformation. Unlike most studies that rely on socioeconomic data, Projectland touches the individual subjectivities of the villagers and the affective dimensions of the socialist state.”Oliver Tappe, University of Heidelberg.