The Legend of the Golden Boat: Regulation, Trade and Traders in the Borderlands of Laos, Thailand, Burma and China, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Legend of the Golden Boat

Regulation, Trade and Traders in the Borderlands of Laos, Thailand, Burma and China, 1st Edition

By Andrew Walker


232 pages

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Hardback: 9780700710744
pub: 1999-08-16
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This book provides a new approach to the study of South-East Asia's northern borderlands. Based on extensive travel in the upper-Mekong hinterland, it provides a fascinating account of the lives of the transport operators, traders, entrepreneurs and government officials who are contributing to the contemporary revival in upper-Mekong cross-border connections. This ethnographic study is set against an intriguing background of war, revolution and reform, providing one of the most detailed histories of the upper-Mekong borderlands ever written. Contemporary developments in the upper-Mekong region are often interpreted in terms of the emergence of a trans-border Economic Quadrangle, characterised by liberalisation, integration and cooperation. The book seeks to go beyond this promotional rhetoric and explore the ambiguities and contradictions in the Quadrangle's development. While some see the Economic Quadrangle's liberalisation as signalling the demise of state power in the borderlands, this study argues that it is providing new incentives and opportunities for collaborative regulation.


'This fascinating book skillfully interweaves anthropological, geographical, and other social science concepts to provide an original "insider" insight into an increasingly important cross-international boundary phenomenon in Asia.' - Dennis Rumley, The Journal of Asian Studies

About the Series

Anthropology of Asia

Asia today is one of the most dynamic regions of the world. The previously predominant image of ‘timeless peasants’ has given way to the image of fast-paced business people, mass consumerism and high-rise urban conglomerations. Yet much discourse remains entrenched in the polarities of East versus West’, ‘Tradition versus Change’. This series hopes to provide a forum for anthropological studies which break with such polarities. It will publish titles dealing with cosmopolitanism, cultural identity, representations, arts and performance. The complexities of urban Asia, its elites, its political rituals, and its families will also be explored.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General