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Dr. Judy Ledgerwood

Department of Anthropology and Center for Southeast Asian Studies

Northern Illinois University

Cambodian society today is a complex interplay of social forces that include pre-revolutionary cultural and social patterns, DK and PRK communist/socialist influences, and the repercussions of the recent re-opening to the world with the reintroduction of a market economy and a form of democracy. This essay provides a brief overview of some of these influences. First, we discuss some of the social consequences of genocide and initial efforts to reconstitute society in the aftermath of DK. (This includes some discussion of the PRK period, though for more detail on the PRK the reader may look back to the PRK section of the Essay One). Second, we examine the dramatic economic changes in the 1990s, particularly after the UN Peacekeeping mission. Third, we explore some of the social problems that remain, including: growing landlessness, a lack of effective health care, and over exploitation of natural resources (in background essays we also examine problems with the education system and the issue of landmines). Full text