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Cambodia’s Second Kingdom: by Astrid Noren-Nilsson

Cambodia’s Second Kingdom, a new book by Swedish political scientist, tells the political tale of the Cambodian nation, its’ imagination, and democracy. In a review, Kheang Un at Northern Illinois University says “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.”
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The 244 page book, published in July this year, discusses the role of nationalist imaginings, discourses, and narratives in Cambodia since the 1993 reintroduction of a multiparty democratic system. Using uncommon sources, such as interviews with key contemporary political actors, Astrid Norén-Nilsson the author analyzes Cambodia’s post-conflict reconstruction politics. She 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,” according to Cornell University Press.

Who’s featured in Cambodia’s Second Kingdom book?
In the acknowledgement, the author thanked Cambodian politicians who agreed to be interviewed: Samdech Hun Sen, Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh, His Excellency Sam Rainsy, and His Excellency Kem Sokha.

The book has five chapters, which include:

  1. One—Cambodia’s Second Kingdom: Starting Points
  2. Two—Of Hun Sen: The Sdech Kân Narrative
  3. Three—Royalists: Between Embodiment and Doctrine
  4. Four—Democrats: Democracy and the Post-PPA Nation
  5. Five—Reassessing Political Contestation in the Kingdom of Cambodia

According to The Cambodia Daily, Noren-Nilsson “has spent nearly 15 years researching politics and politicians in Cambodia and recently completed her doctorate at the University of Cambridge, England. She turned her thesis into the book, which was released in the U.S. in July by Cornell University’s Southeast Asia Program Publications.”

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