Constructing Cambodian Identity

Author: Antonio L Rappa (Singapore University of Social Sciences)
Speaker: Antonio L Rappa
Topic: Post structuralism and language
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


Born out of the scholarship on structuralism and modernism, postmodernism is about the politics of postcolonialism. To “think and do” postmodernism is to engage the neoliberal capitalist world in small bites. This is much easier than taking big and indigestible chunks out of the capitalist world order. How does postmodernism criticize the modern, postcolonial world dominated by big business, transnational criminal organizations, and MNCs? For a start we should understand that postmodernism involves “speaking truth to power” (Foucault) and focusing on people in the margins and in interstitial spaces who have been neglected, ignored and maligned.

Postmodernists are advocates for minorities, for gays and lesbians, orphans, the underprivileged, the impoverished and the poor. The methods used by many postmodern scholars often involve the deconstruction of grand narratives to expose their megalomaniacal modes of control and power.

The uneven distribution of power in Southeast Asian countries like Cambodia has resulted, inter alia, in that country remaining far behind its counterparts. Despite its rich historical and cultural heritage, Cambodia has remained the poorest country in Southeast Asia for several decades. The paper examines the construction of Cambodian identity in late modernity.

Keywords: Postmodernism