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Irrigating a socialist utopia : disciplinary space and population control under the Khmer Rouge, 1975-1979

This article explores how the Khmer Rouge’s restructuring of the environment into a socialist utopian space could be explained as an attempt to establish and tighten control over the populace and the factionalized movement. By inscribing power structures into the environment, the Khmer Rouge tried to 'create' loyal and faithful subjects. Michel Foucault's concepts of a 'disciplinary space' and panoptical control help to understand the massive environmental reshaping and it's connection to the regime's struggle for legitimation and control. Measures include the nationwide reconstruction of the irrigation system, sending the populace to the rice fields for a 'thought reform' through productive labor as well as an all-encompassing system of terror aimed at the transformation of the deviant populace into perfectly socialist people.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Document type Reports, journal articles, and research papers (including theses and dissertations)
Language of document
  • English
  • Agriculture
  • Irrigation and water management
  • Labor
  • Rice
  • System of government
Geographic area (spatial range)
  • Cambodia
Copyright Yes
Access and use constraints

Available at

Version / Edition 1.0
License CC-BY-4.0
Author (individual) Bultmann, Daniel
Publication place Germany
Publisher Global Studies Programme
Publication date 2012
General note

Transience,Volume 3,Issue 1,40-52

Date uploaded June 12, 2015, 05:34 (UTC)
Date modified January 7, 2016, 21:32 (UTC)