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Ref ID: 35232
Ref Type: Journal Article
Authors: O'Connor, Richard
Title: Agricultural change and ethnic succession in Southeast Asian states: a case for regional anthropology
Date: 1995
Source: Journal of Asian Studies
Abstract: RICHARD A. O'CONNOR connects the decline and rise of successive states in Southeast Asian history to the differing agricultural strategies of ethnic groups. Specifically, he argues that the transition from the early Pyu, Mon, Khmer, and Cham states of lowland mainland Southeast Asia to the states of the Burmese, Tai, and Vietnamese in the second millennium A.D. can be correlated with the change in agricultural technology from "gardening and farming complexes native to the lowlands" to "irrigated wet rice specialization from upland valleys." The historical triumph of the successor states is thus tied to their agricultural practices and the social systems based on cooperative villages, which emerged to support their common style of agricultural production. In locating the dynamics of historical change in Southeast Asia in the region's "agro-cultural complexes," the author advances not only a bold hypothesis about the interlocking nature of agricultural practices, social systems, and historical change, but also a model with wide implications for understanding political change and ethnic expansion in other parts of Asia. O'Connor makes a case for a return to regional anthropology, an anthropology that treats culture and society as interconnected rather than discrete entities and an anthropology that blends ethnography with history.
Date Created: 6/8/2001
Volume: 54
Number: 4
Page Start: 968
Page End: 996