On the Move across Phnom Dangrek: Mobilities and Silences in the Thai-Cambodian Borderland

Liamdee, Khathaleeya. On the Move across Phnom Dangrek: Mobilities and Silences in the Thai-Cambodian Borderland. Diss. U of Washington. 2020.

Abstract: This dissertation is a historical and ethnographic study of a mountainous landscape of Phnom Dangrek where it has always been the periphery of various political entities and marked by violent Cold War struggle and regional politics. Through analysis of mobility and silence and engagement with decolonizing methodology, this study demonstrates how people live, labor, and remember at the border, amidst the state's fragmented "battlefield to marketplace" policies. This study not only captures the movements and silences across the border checkpoint and its prior history of Cambodian civil war through the lived experiences of border dwellers. It also investigates how the Chong Chom border market and Surin Province became one of the popular destinations for Cambodian migrant workers in the post-war era and how this border economy has caused ambiguity and in-betweenness among the border migrant community through their daily movements across two countries and strategies of survival of both Thai and Cambodian border dwellers. The chapters are chronologically organized by materials and research sites in order to reflect the way I approach the studies of cross-border mobility and silence that impacted by warfare namely Chapter 1 Phnom Dangrek border landscape; Chapter 2 Thailand and the Cambodian civil war; Chapter 3 Border camps and its post-war land use changes; Chapter 4 Thailand's Immigration policies on displaced people and migrant labors; Chapter 5 Market, checkpoint, casino, and post-war border economy; and Chapter 6 Border dwellers' strategies of survival in the post-war forest sanctuary.