The historical development of a polyethnic society and culture in Laos from independence and under socialism

  • Martin Rathie

    Student thesis: Other thesis - CDU


    The study of Laos in history has always been limited and regularly critical in popular texts. This neglect of Laos, in a way, can be justified by its small population and its isolated position in relation to world issues. Yet Laos should be also noted for its unique approach to universal problems such as the establishment of a modern socialist state, the advancement of modern industry alongside a traditional subsistence economy and, most importantly for the writer, the management of a multi-ethnic population.

    The chief objectives of this thesis are to identify the decisions and successes which have led Laos to enjoy what is a fairly harmonious polyethnic' culture today when many of the nations surrounding it have failed. Themes which are emphasised include the notion of statehood, the continuity of Laotian socialculture, and the evolution of relations between different ethnic groups.' It has also been important and unavoidable to trace the role of the socialist forces in Laos and their taking of power through the use of a polyethnic' social policy.

    Since the subject of this historical analysis is polyethnicity it is important to define what is meant by this term in the context of this study so as not to draw conflict with other fields of research such as anthropology or sociology. Thehistory of polyethnic development shall be defined as the objective differences between various ethnic groups as shown by history, with a particular emphasis on the changing role of a national population's classification of ethnic groups or more specifically that of the ethnic Lao. By analysing such historical events it is possible for the writer to show how relations between minority groups and the dominant lowland populations have been affected by traditional and revolutionary conceptions of Laotian history, in such a way that it can be argued that continuities and discontinuities in Laotian society and culture have been adapted through history to create a new national polyethnic' meaning in Laos...
    Date of AwardOct 1995
    Original languageEnglish

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