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Distributed for National University of Singapore Press

Love and Dread in Cambodia

Weddings, Births and Ritual Harm under the Khmer Rouge

For a decade, the author followed Cambodian men and women to former wedding and birth sites from the Khmer Rouge period (1975-79), filming their return to these locations. In the process she uncovered evidence of the way severe dislocation, induced starvation and other murderous activities paved the way for reconstructed communes. Group marriages, along with prescriptions for sex, pregnancies and births, were a central feature of the remaking of Cambodian society and contributed to the dissolution of the country's ritual practices. This "ritualcide" caused a mass loss of spirit-protective places, objects, and arbitrators, and had a traumatic impact on Khmer society. Group marriages did, however, give spouses a reprieve from further dislocation.
 Approaching the process as an ethno-psychologist, LeVine argues that suffering was intensified by ritual tampering on the part of the Khmer Rouge. Such disruptions did not end in 1979, however, since Euro-American perspectives on trauma and reconciliation have also failed to accept spirit respect as a normative feature.

260 pages | 6 x 9

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia

Religion: Religion and Society

Sociology: Sociology--Marriage and Family

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Terms of References
Introduction: “Under the Lie” in Incomparable Times
How This Study Began
The Initial Inquiry
Beyond Testimony: Re-placing History
Film: Tracking Despair Alongside Desire
Truth Sits Under the Lie
Chapter 1 The Khmer Rouge Weddings: Forced or Not?
Place, Memory, and Recorded History
Advancement of the Khmer Rouge Marriages
Cultural Leanings on Passion, Love, and Union
Sensual Decay and Loss of Courtship
Angkar’s Looming Presence in the Spirit World
Chapter 2 Vulnerability Under the Khmer Rouge
The Unprotected Nation
Land, Water, Human, and Spirit Rhythms
Clothing and the Krama
Cosmos, Buddhism, and the “Lord of the Fields”
Monks and Pagodas
Khmer Traditions that Went Underground During Democratic Kampuchea
Complex Sensation in Cambodia
The Bitter-sour History
Ritual Gambling, Spirits, and the Buddha
Chapter 3 Core Rituals for Marriage, Pregnancy, and Birth in Cambodia
Tradition as Foreground
Primary Ritual Objects and Codification
Documentation of Marriage Rituals Prior to 1970
Music, Monks, and the Role of Spirits
Traditional Pregnancy, Delivery, and Birth Rites
Access to Ritual and Safe Touch
Chapter 4 Beyond Testimony: Weddings and Births Unraveled
The Politics of Research Findings
Statuses Before, During, and After the Khmer Rouge
Separation Between Partners
Sexuality Between Partners
Sexuality in Democratic Kampuchea
Marriage Patterns and Sexual Relations: Prescriptive or Not?
Communal Honeymoon Huts
Group Wedding Practices After the 1979 Supposed Collapse of the Khmer Rouge
Reasons Couples Stay Together
Togetherness Themes Presented in Rank Order of Frequency
Deception and Dis-placement
The Evolution of “Neo-Collectives”
Weddings and Births: Relief and Dashed Dreams
Politics of Analysis
Chapter 5 Displaced without Imagination
Turning Points
Vital Touch – Dreadful Touch under DK
Spirit Humiliation
The Manifestation of Chaos
Displacement and Referential Power
Chapter 6 Field Diaries: Exposé on Cruelty
Atrocity Saturation
Keeping Histories Separate
Raw Text
Chapter 7 Angkar’s Potency
Forces that Protect, Transform, and Harm
Transforming Spirit Phenomena in Cambodia
Politics of Myth and Angkar
Obligation-exchange in the Spirit World
Angkar’s Potency
DK’s Cult-ure of Sacrifice
DK Fallout: Vulnerable Minds and Bodies
Chapter 8 Agentless Victimiser
I Did Not Interview the Dead (Boder)
Dis-placed, Dis-spirited, and Double Distress
Chapter 9 Not So Simple: Neighter Benign nor Hideous
Taboo and Cultural Elasticity
The Generations that Bracket the Khmer Rouge
Fast Tracked and Stunted in the Angkarian State
Responsive Reconciliaition in the Aftermath of Ritualicide

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