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Khmer peasants and land access in Kompong Thom Province in the 1930s

Khmer peasants and land access in Kompong Thom Province in the 1930s

Journal of Southeast Asian Studies

2012, Matthieu Guérin
Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 43/03 (octobre 2012),  [2012]

Based on Cambodian and French archival records, which include colonial and local administration reports, tax rosters and judicial sources, this paper explores landownership in Cambodia in the 1930s. It shows that, contrary to common belief, land access was already an issue in the 1930s. The study of tax registers of three communes in the province of Kompong Thom presents a Khmer rural society dominated by peasants with average-sized landholdings, but where landless peasants or those with very small holdings also existed. It also stresses that women were able to become efficient farm operators. In addition, this analysis of the different sources available shows that Khmer rural society in Kompong Thom was a form of gerontocracy dominated by men aged over 40.

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