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After the Grab? Land Control and Regime Survival in Cambodia since 2012

Loughlin, N. and Milne, S. (2020). After the Grab? Land Control and Regime Survival in Cambodia since 2012. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 51(3), pp. 375-397. doi: 10.1080/00472336.2020.1740295

Abstract

The global land grab has played out vividly in Cambodia, giving rise to rural upheaval and new political dynamics. This article explores how the Cambodian government has dealt with the social and political consequences of this land grabbing, with the aim of exploring state formation in the context of socio-environmental disruption and dispossession. When a moratorium was declared in 2012, the ruling Cambodian People’s Party faced one of its strongest political challenges, fuelled in part by land and resource conflicts. In this article, the focus is on the responses to this challenge, noting the recursive relationship between land administration and state formation. The analysis shows three tactics of land control used by the regime to ensure its survival after the grab: reform, repression and re-territorialisation. These tactics operate in parallel and sometimes contradictory ways, being highly performative in nature. We reveal a regime that uses political theatre to construct legitimacy and authority on the one hand, while deploying coercion and violence on the other. These observations complement typical diagnoses of Cambodia’s politics as neo-patrimonial, highlighting the performative and symbolic nature of government actions, particularly in the land sector.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Journal of Contemporary Asia. Loughlin, N. and Milne, S. (2021). After the Grab? Land Control and Regime Survival in Cambodia since 2012. Journal of Contemporary Asia, 51(3), pp. 375-397 is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: State formation, land control, Cambodia, neo-patrimonialism, authoritarianism, political theatre
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > International Politics
Project Input:
Project IDFunder NameFunder ID
DP180101495Australian Research Councilhttp://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000923
Date available in CRO: 07 Oct 2021 11:51
Date deposited: 7 October 2021
Date of acceptance: 29 August 2019
Date of first online publication: 12 April 2020
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/26886
[img] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible until 12 October 2022 due to copyright restrictions.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

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