Between State and Citizens: Civil Society in Cambodia under Neoliberalism
研究論文 Research Paper
This study depicts civil society in Cambodia both in general and in specific rural villages and explore factors behind the lack of dynamics in civil society through literature review and field investigation. Because more than three fourths of the Cambodian population reside in rural areas, the depiction of Cambodian civil society is incomplete if the situation in rural regions is not included in the discussion. The research results show that Neoliberalism has been adopted by the patron-client system embedded in Cambodian tradition and therefore has solidified the position of the economic and political elite due to the massive capital flowing into Cambodia. As a result, the power gap has widened between the elite and the lowest economic level. Most people living on survival incomes typically have little freedom to choose a different way of life, unlike in a neoliberal civil society. In addition, NGOs which heavily depend on foreign donors have encountered difficulties in cultivating strength from the grassroots. This study also finds that, in rural areas, the primary foundation of Cambodian civil society rests upon the individual network involving families, friends, and neighbors as well as the issue-oriented network relationship between NGOs (the givers) and individuals (the receiver), and. In remote areas where most people still survive at a subsistence level, collective action to pursue public interests can only be triggered when private interest is simultaneously pursued.