Sacred Space or World Heritage? An Ethnography of the Contested Meanings and Uses of Two Khmer Sanctuaries in Thailand’s Buriram Province

Dr. Alexandra Denes   Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre
Mr. Tiamsoon Sirisrisak   King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang

Muang Tam
This research examines issues of community rights and access to heritage at two Angkorian-era heritage sites in Thailand’s Buriram province—Muang Tam and Phnom Rung. The research focuses on how the classification and management of the sites as national heritage led to the marginalization of local beliefs and practices associated with the sites, and how this has further been complicated by the growth of “magico-politics” and tourism since the 1990s. The key questions we aim to address are as follows: should local populations (particularly ethnic Khmer) be granted special rights and privileges as bearers of local intangible culture associated with the sites? How can the contested meanings and values associated with the sites be managed so as to allow space for multiple interpretations of the monuments?

Comments are closed.