Ten days till I fly to Tokyo and there is still so much work to do for my dissertation. My reading list just gets longer and longer. I suspect I will be doing a lot of photocopying in the days before.

I met with my supervisor today, and was reassured about the direction in which I’m heading. BUT the way I’m working, I don’t have a specific question to answer. Instead I’m looking at what’s available and slowly uncovering a “story” to be told. Specifically, I’m investigating the squeeze poor Khmers face – on the one side is their vulnerability to catastrophe (illness, etc.) due to their poverty and on the other, the political processes that would deprive them of their capacity to economically survive and weather shocks.

The key is land, I think. An obvious answer, when 80% of a country is agrarian. Where even when a person no longer owns land, he/she stills conceptualizes him/herself as a rice farmer.

Do you know? Khmer, the language, has particular names for over a hundred varieties of rice. And under traditional Cambodian law, it was a crime to damage or insult a rice plant.


~ by Samer on July 9, 2007.

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