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Integration and territorial dynamics in Northeast Cambodia : the case of socio-spatial transformations in the Tampuan villages of Ratanakiri


Author: Sieng, Téphanie
Sous la direction de: Manuelle Franck et Michel Rethy Antelme
Langue française Texte français

Keywords : Geography, Cambodia Ratanakiri, Cambodia, Socio-spatial transformations, Territory, migration, Margins, Rural, Highlands, Tampuan, Khmers.


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This doctoral dissertation analyzes the socio-spatial transformations of Northeast Cambodia, taking as a case study the province of Ratanakiri and the adaptation of the Tampuan, one of its main ethnic groups. Ratanakiri, bordering Laos and Vietnam, is an area that has undergone significant landscape, economic, political, social and cultural transformations from the French colonial era (1863–1953) to the present day. Marked by the country’s contemporary history (independence movement in the 1950s, Khmer Rouge regime in the mid-1970s, etc.), Ratanakiri is a privileged witness to the different stages of the process of integration of the peripheral mountain territories or “margins” within a national and regional whole. These highland societies long populated mainly by communities with cultures different from the Khmers—the majority ethnic group in the kingdom—had to adapt to the migrants coming from the central plain and to the arrival of foreign activities and organizations. These transformations, affecting all social strata, have consequences on the relationship between inhabitants and territory : conflicts of various kinds emerge between the different actors involved in the mutation of Ratanakiri ; spaces seem to become more uniform ; urbanization takes place ; questions of identity become major issues ; social and spatial inequalities increase. As a territory still in the process of change, the study of this region allows for a better understanding of the major aspects of the development of Cambodian rural areas, which are part of the reconfiguration of Southeast Asian spaces.