Revisiting Ideas of Power in Southeast Asia

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4 Scopus citations


The five essays in this collection examine ideas of power in Southeast Asia and reflect on foundational studies by Lucien Hanks and Benedict Anderson on Thailand and Indonesia. The essays by Hanks and Anderson crossed anthropology and area studies. The cases explore the relevance of their work in Southeast Asia and comparatively, in relation to academic consensus and debate, social entanglements, political divergence, negotiation, pluralism, and reflexivity. The essays suggest that ‘the state’ is a problematic notion, and that the common conflation of society and the state hides a range of tensions between the rival principles of hierarchy and community. We examine power in relation to socialism, hierarchy, indigeneity, Buddhism, marginalisation, and nonstate identities, through fieldwork encounters as much as through historical and regional contrasts and comparisons on the ethnic frontiers of the modern nations of Indonesia, Laos, and Thailand.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalAnthropological Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Notions of power
  • Southeast Asia
  • community
  • comparisons
  • hierarchy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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