Cambodia-Vietnam Borderlands: Unsettled Frontiers

Unsettled Frontiers: Market Formation in the Cambodia-Vietnam Borderlands is a new book by Sango Mahanty, published by Cornell University’s Southeast Asia Program Publications, and at a reasonable price for the paperback. It is reviewed for JCA by Minh Chau Lam of the Department of Anthropology, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, in Hanoi.

The reviewer explains that Mahanty draws on the concept of “rhizome” to analyse markets in a “changing border landscape as constantly in formation through the social and material entanglements of disparate commodity networks.”  With rich ethnographic data, the author convincingly describes “frontier markets [that are] in a state of continual flux, full of ruptures, and reinventions. And although closely tied to processes of state formation, they are unruly sites that have constantly defied efforts of control of modern states.”

The reviewer raises some useful queries regarding the theoretical framework, but finds the book a useful account of the complexities of border market and state regimes.


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