IIAS Newsletter 49 Autumn 2008

Stilled to silence at 500 metres: making sense of historical change in Southeast Asia

James C. Scott

The dialectical relationship between the nation state and zones of relative autonomy isn’t unique to mainland Southeast Asia, but it is of particular salience there, demarcating the social cleavage that shapes much of the region’s history: that between hill peoples and valley peoples. It led to a process of state formation in valleys and peopling of hills, and left the latter largely absent from the historical record.

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