Cambodia's Second Kingdom is an exploration of the role of nationalist imaginings, discourses, and narratives in Cambodia since the 1993 reintroduction of a multiparty democratic system. Competing nationalistic imaginings are shown to be a more prominent part of party political contestation in the Kingdom of Cambodia than typically believed. For political parties, nationalistic imaginings became the basis for strategies to attract popular support, electoral victories, and moral legitimacy. Astrid Norén-Nilsson uses uncommon sources, such as interviews with key contemporary political actors, to analyze Cambodia’s postconflict reconstruction politics. This book exposes how nationalist imaginings, typically understood to be associated with political opposition, have been central to the reworking of political identities and legitimacy bids across the political spectrum. Norén-Nilsson examines the entanglement of notions of democracy and national identity and traces out a tension between domestic elite imaginings and the liberal democratic framework in which they operate.
Astrid Norén-Nilsson is a political science consultant, contributing author, and political and security analyst for various international concerns. She is vice president of the Cambodian Institute for Strategic Studies (CISS), Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and former research fellow for KITLV, Leiden, The Netherlands. She was a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge, where she earned a PhD in politics and international studies and an MPhil in development studies.
Using a multidisciplinary approach and diverse sources, including elite interviews, Cambodia’s Second Kingdom provides a novel analysis of nationalist imaginings of Cambodia by different political parties in the context of post–international democratic intervention electoral competition.—Kheang Un, Northern Illinois University