Social Inequality and Sociocultures in Southeast Asia

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Panel

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Abstract

The panel deals with social inequality in Southeast Asia against the background of a new theoretical framework. The framework argues that social inequality in contemporary nation states is rooted in hierarchies that emerged in earlier historical periods. The hierarchies, which the framework refers to as sociocultures, shape social classes in contemporary societies and partly persist beneath and next to these classes. The configuration of sociocultures and social classes can be studied empirically in a combination of historical research, qualitative interviews and quantitative instruments. The panel presents the findings of studies in Cambodia, China, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. It also presents an outline of the theoretical framework itself and a general overview of social inequality and sociocultures in Southeast Asia.