Configurations of Globalization in Laos and Cambodia

  • Boike Rehbein (Autor/in)

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How do various tendencies and the differing pace of globalization affect nationally organized societies? The paper deals with this question by comparing the "opened" society of Cambodia to the recently but hesitantly opening society of Laos. It argues that the import of globalized institutions leads to friction in both countries. However, this friction is more pronounced in Cambodia due to the excessive speed of the imports. To explain the friction, the paper looks at the historical evolution of contemporary cultures and social structures and their persistence as "sociocultures". Globalizing tendencies combine with local socio-cultures to form specific hybrids producing localized friction. Cambodia's socio-cultures are challenged too directly and immediately by globalizing tendencies, which produces backlashes by the elite. In Laos, the elite firmly controls the political field and the public sphere and can therefore allow for an increasing globalization of the economic field. The paper looks at the structure of the pollitical field, the economic field and the public sphere in each country to draw conclusions about the immediate prospects for both countries. The analysis adapts Pierre Bourdieu's sociology to the local circumstances.