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Material Culture and Embodied Experience among Karenni Refugees in Thailand
204 pages, 14 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-84545-640-5 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (March 2010)
eISBN 978-1-84545-809-6 eBook
“Dudley’s deep ethnography of clothing and religious ceremonies adds a variety of evidence to her overall, convincing argument.” · Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
“Sandra Dudley has written a well-crafted narrative about the experience of displacement in a little-understood part of the world…The points Dudley raises…are important and convincing.” · SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
“In her remarkable book, Sandra Dudley challenges dominant ideas about forced displacement, aesthetics and the lived experience of refugees from Burma…[Her] book is one that offers rare insight into the daily lives of Karenni refugees and also productively bridges the fields of forced displacement studies and cultural studies…The empirical and theoretical strengths of [this book]are matched by methodological insights that will be of value to scholars and practitioners in and beyond the field of forced displacement studies.” · South East Asia Research
“Dudley is an anthropologist and, as such, her documentation is detailed and provides much insight into the camp refugee mindset, specifically that of the Karenni located in camps in Thailand…The material is rich with information that, when examined, could help deepen empathy for refugees in camp situations, for resettled refugees, and the agencies and individuals who service and respond to them. It is a ‘must read’.” · Journal of Immigrant & Refugee Studies
“Sandra Dudley brings unique and valuable insights into the field of forced migration both through her study of the Karenni refugees in Thailand, an overlooked group of refugees who have fled dire circumstances of counter/insurgency and destruction, and a material culture disciplinary lens. This is an eloquently composed text with high scholarly merits.” · Hazel Lang, Australian National University
Focusing on the highly diverse Karenni refugee population living in camps on the Thai-Burma border, this innovative book explores materiality, embodiment, memory, imagination, and identity among refugees, providing new and important ways of understanding how refugees make sense of experience, self, and other. It examines how and to what ends refugees perceive, represent, manipulate, use as metaphor, and otherwise engage with material objects and spaces, and includes a focus on the real and metaphorical journeys that bring about and perpetuate exile.
The combined emphasis on both displacement and materiality, and the analysis of the cultural construction and intersections of exilic objects, spaces, and bodies, are unique in the study of both refugees and material culture. Drawing theoretical influences from phenomenology, aesthetics, and beyond, as well as from refugee studies and anthropology, the author addresses the current lack of theoretical analysis of the material, visual, spatial, and embodied aspects of forced migration, providing a fundamentally interlinked analysis of enforced exile and materiality.
Sandra Dudley has worked with and on Karenni refugees since 1996, completing her doctorate in Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford in 2001. She is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, having previously taught at Oxford and UEA and worked at the Pitt Rivers Museum.