People of Virtue

Reconfiguring Religion, Power and Moral Order in Cambodia Today

edited by Alexandra Kent & David Chandler

Available from NIAS Press worldwide
ISBN Hardback: 978 87 7694 036 2, £65.00 (June 2009)
ISBN Paperback: 978 87 7694 037 9, £24.00 ()

This volume places Cambodia’s religious revival in a nuanced social, cultural and political context, showing how the formation of a new moral order is crucial if the country can recover and heal itself after years of violent conflict.

Much attention has been given to the ‘killing fields’ of Cambodia, far less to how the country can recover and heal itself after such an experience. Crucial to this process has been the formation of a new moral order in Cambodia and hence the revival of religion in the country.

Certainly, the regeneration of the ritual life of a community may offer ways for people to formulate and relate to their collective stories through symbolism that recalls a shared cultural origin. However, this process requires that the representatives of religion and of morality do have credibility and moral authority, something that may be called into question by their past and present involvement in hegemonic political and secular affairs.

The importance of this volume, therefore, is not only that it contributes to the new interest in religion in Cambodia but also because it places the religious revival in a nuanced social, cultural and political context and shows how Cambodia pursues order in large part through reference to her past.

author image not supplied

I completed a Masters degree in Social Anthropology at Edinburgh University in 1982.

I completed a Masters degree in Social Anthropology at Edinburgh University in 1982. I then worked for 11 years in a medical field before returning to anthropology in 1993. I completed my doctoral dissertation in 2000 at Goteborg University. The was later published as a monograph entitled Divinity and Diversity: a Hindu revitalization movement in Malaysia, NIAS Press in 2005. My interests have been politics and religion, healing and medical anthropology. I have carried out fieldwork in South India, Malaysia and Cambodia and am now working on a project exploring the relationship between gender, religion and security in Cambodia.

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by Volker Grabowsky
From journal:
Internationales Asienforum 41, May 2010, 1-2/10

People of Virtue is an important book for all interested in the history and practice of Cambodian Buddhism.  Moreover, it may even inspire studies of other societies which have undergone similar traumatic experiences.

People of Virtue is an important book for all interested in the history and practice of Cambodian Buddhism.  Moreover, it may even inspire studies of other societies which have undergone similar traumatic experiences.

by Milton Osborne
From journal:
Aséanie (24), 2009

 For all [of those] with a deep interest in Cambodia this is a particularly rewarding book. … Overall this is a volume that will repay reference on a repeated basis. It is full of insights that depend on the detail the authors provide and which are a product of their close involvement in their subjects.

 For all [of those] with a deep interest in Cambodia this is a particularly rewarding book. … Overall this is a volume that will repay reference on a repeated basis. It is full of insights that depend on the detail the authors provide and which are a product of their close involvement in their subjects. It will have an honoured place on the bookshelves of those with a deep interest in Cambodia.

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