Cultural Crisis and Social Memory

Modernity and Identity in Thailand and Laos

By Charles F. Keyes, Shigeharu Tanabe

© 2002 – Routledge

324 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9781138990531
pub: 2016-03-31
Available for pre-order
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Hardback: 9780700711758
pub: 2002-05-16
US Dollars$195.00

About the Book

This book explores social memory in the context of cultural crises of modernity in Thailand and Laos. It explicates the ways in which social memory constructed by the people enters modernity, and how this in turn causes fundamental ruptures with their past, as well as the various ways cultural crises are experienced in their lives. The essays in this book consider how in these crises the people constitute their cultural, social, or individual identities, particularly focusing on the theoretical issues of identifications and their relevance to distinct historical processes in Thailand and Laos.

Both countries, particularly in the two decades since the 1970s, have been undergoing radical social and economic changes. Whilst Thailand has travelled down the road to industrialization, neighbouring Laos experienced a communist revolution in 1975 and only since the late 1980s has attempted to follow a reformist path to development. Increasingly influenced by globalised economic and social institutions, both countries have come to face crises that have made people insecure in the present and anxious about the future.


'This volume offers a fine collection of essays on the complex and ever-evolving issue of social memory.' - Asian Journal of Social Science

Table of Contents

Part I. Ritual, Spirit mediumship, and the Politics of the Past Part II. Cultural Crisis and the Re-framing of Thai-ness Part III. On the Margins of the Thai World Reflections by Masato Fukushima, International University of Japan

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