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Theorising ‘Peace-building’ resistance: constructions of time and different temporalities at play in the Preah Vihear Temple conflict

Journal article
Authors Mona Lilja
Mikael Baaz
Published in European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
Volume 3
Issue 4
Pages 426-446
ISSN 2325-4823
Publication year 2016
Published at Department of Law
School of Global Studies
Pages 426-446
Language en
Keywords Peace-building resistance, time and temporality, civil society, Preah Vihear Temple, Cambodia, Thailand
Subject categories Law, Sociology


This paper explores civil-society mobilisations around the Preah Vihear Temple, today a world heritage site located in Cambodia, on the border with Thailand. More specifically, the paper seeks to increase our understanding of the ‘peace-building’ resistance that is played out by different civil-society actors with regard to the Temple. This case displays how both the governments and civil societies in each of the two countries bend relationships between the ‘past’, the ‘present’, and the ‘future’ in general, and in relation to ‘identity’ in particular, in order to construct narratives of nation-building. The Temple has been used in discursive constructions of national collective identity in Cambodia and Thailand, respectively; constructions that, among other things, embrace shifting notions of time and temporality. Whereas much analysis of peace-building resistance concentrates on larger-scale actions, this paper adds to previous research by giving priority to more subtle forms of resistance and describing how civil-society actors resist by ‘bending’ prevailing conceptions of time and temporality.

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