Folklorizing Northern Khmer Identity in Thailand: Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Production of “Good Culture”

Folklorizing Northern Khmer Identity in Thailand: Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Production... Abstract: Growing recognition of the contested nature of heritage has prompted critical reassessments of official heritage discourses and the demand for more inclusive heritage processes. Field research in Surin, Thailand, reveals the challenges of implementing participatory approaches in a context in which the concept of cultural heritage is employed to domesticate the nation’s ethnic Others. The history of state-sponsored, folklorized performances of the ethnic Khmer genre of kantruem demonstrates the ways in which the recent listing of kantruem on Thailand’s national registry of “intangible culture” elides histories of cross-border linkage with Cambodia and meanings of kantruem as a site of memory and affect. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

Folklorizing Northern Khmer Identity in Thailand: Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Production of “Good Culture”

Folklorizing Northern Khmer Identity in Thailand: Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Production of “Good Culture”


SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia Vol. 30, No. 1 (2015), pp. 1–34 DOI: 10.1355/sj30-1a © 2015 ISEAS ISSN 0217-9520 print / ISSN 1793-2858 electronic Folklorizing Northern Khmer Identity in Thailand: Intangible Cultural Heritage and the Production of “Good Culture” Alexandra Denes Growing recognition of the contested nature of heritage has prompted critical reassessments of official heritage discourses and the demand for more inclusive heritage processes. Field research in Surin, Thailand, reveals the challenges of implementing participatory approaches in a context in which the concept of cultural heritage is employed to domesticate the nation’s ethnic Others. The history of state-sponsored, folklorized performances of the ethnic Khmer genre of kantruem demonstrates the ways in which the recent listing of kantruem on Thailand’s national registry of “intangible culture” elides histories of cross-border linkage with Cambodia and meanings of kantruem as a site of memory and affect. Keywords: kantruem, intangible cultural heritage, folklorization, ethnic identity, Northern Khmer, Northeastern Thailand. Since its inception in nineteenth-century romanticism and historicism, heritage has been inextricably implicated in the territorialization of the nation-state. Premised upon foreclosures and exclusions, heritage as a field of practice invokes official representations of history and choreographed performances of culture which naturalize the bounded nation-state by mobilizing collective memory, constructing origins and domesticating difference. For scholars focusing on traditional modes of expressive culture, including ritual and performance, the term that most succinctly sums up the adverse effects of heritage discourses on living practices is 01 SOJOURN.indd 1 Alexandra Denes “folklorization”. First employed by scholars and activists in Latin America...
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Publisher
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Copyright
Copyright © Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
ISSN
1793-2858
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: Growing recognition of the contested nature of heritage has prompted critical reassessments of official heritage discourses and the demand for more inclusive heritage processes. Field research in Surin, Thailand, reveals the challenges of implementing participatory approaches in a context in which the concept of cultural heritage is employed to domesticate the nation’s ethnic Others. The history of state-sponsored, folklorized performances of the ethnic Khmer genre of kantruem demonstrates the ways in which the recent listing of kantruem on Thailand’s national registry of “intangible culture” elides histories of cross-border linkage with Cambodia and meanings of kantruem as a site of memory and affect.

Journal

Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast AsiaInstitute of Southeast Asian Studies

Published: Mar 27, 2015

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