People of Virtue: Reconfiguring Religion, Power and Moral Order in Cambodia Today

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edited by Alexandra Kent and David Chandler

Much attention has been given to the 'killing fields' of Cambodia, far less to how the country can recover and heal itself after such an experience. Crucial to this process has been the formation of a new moral order in Cambodia and hence the revival of religion in the country. Certainly, the regeneration of the ritual life of a community may offer ways for people to formulate and relate to their collective stories through symbolism that recalls a shared cultural origin. However, this process requires that the representatives of religion and of morality do have credibility and moral authority, something that may be called into question by their past and present involvement in hegemonic political and secular affairs.The importance of this volume, therefore, is not only that it contributes to the new interest in religion in Cambodia but also because it places the religious revival in a nuanced social, cultural and political context and shows how Cambodia pursues order in large part through reference to her past.

"People of Virtue is an important book for all interested in the history and practice of Cambodian Buddhism. Moreover, it may even inspire studies of other societies which have undergone similar traumatic experiences. - Volker Grabowsky, International Aseinforum, 2010, 1-2/10

Alexandra Kent is an associate professor in social anthropology at the University of Gothenburg. She has explored the relationship between religion, politics, gender, healing and security in India, Malaysia and Cambodia, her most recent research being on Cambodians’ understandings of justice in the aftermath of conflict.

Publication year: 2009
344 pp / 229mm x 152mm
36 figures, 7 tables
ISBN: 978-87-7694-037-9, Paperback
ISBN: 978-87-7694-036-2, Hardback

NIAS Press