Different Hmong Political Orientations and Perspectives on the Thailand-Laos Border
Georgetown University. School of Foreign Service
Borders mean different things to different peoples. By now this is widely understood within academia, but there is still the propensity to assume shared essentialized perceptions of borders amongst groups based on ethnicity. Indeed, in Southeast Asia we frequently hear of cross-border solidarity largely based on ethnic and linguistic affinities. In this short essay my goal is to partially upend such assumptions by illustrating how one particular border—between Thailand and Laos, in the relatively remote border between Mae Charim District, Nan Province, in northern Thailand and Nam Phoui District, Xayaboury Province in northern Laos—took on quite different meanings during the 1980s and 1990s. These differences existed not only between lowland and upland peoples, or between those in one ethnic group or another, but also between peoples who self-identify as being in the same ethnic group, and who speak the same language: Hmong.
Georgetown University. School of Foreign Service. Asian Studies Program.
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