War's ontogeny: Militias and ethnic boundaries in laos and exile

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10 Scopus citations


This article concerns the dynamics of people-making during war and exile. While the Second Indochina War (1954-75) in Laos was international, the fashioning of ethnic identities in relation to militias also reflected local dynamics and divisions, and rivalries over prominence. I focus on the identification of Iu Mien peoples in relation to Chao La, a militia leader whose prominence reflected his authoritarianism and command over resources, as well as the social repercussions of large-scale resettlement and the dynamics of refugee camps. My argument centers on the potential of warfare and violence to define ethnic identities, and on social reproduction concerning cultural factors in ethnicized and militarized social life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-149
Number of pages25
JournalSoutheast Asian Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009


  • Ethnicity
  • Iu Mien
  • Laos
  • Militias
  • Warfare
  • Witchcraft

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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