Mapping the Srok: The Mimeses of Land Titling in Cambodia
- Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 31, Number 1, March 2016
- pp. 37-80
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- Additional Information
In June 2012, Cambodia’s prime minister issued an order on land titling that deployed student volunteers to survey and map the country’s territory. Examination of this initiative at the theoretical intersections of mapping, mimicry and governmentality demonstrates the violent exclusions inherent in cadastral projects that restrict measuring and titling to only “productive” properties. In a field of speculation and local power the initiative dramatically refashioned the land to mimic in advance the expectations of the Map. The transformations altered land access and use in ways that told two stories about the power of the Map: “clear it or lose it” and “if you clear it, you can have it”. Neither story was fully realized, but the land was transformed nonetheless.