chapter  8
17 Pages

The neoliberalization of security and violence in Cambodia’s transition


Security should mean freedom from the fear of direct and indirect physical harm, defi ned in military, criminal, political and economic terms. This chapter differs from these conventional interpretations in adding that it also means more than the preservation of the market, a position refl ected in the actions of Cambodia’s donor community, in particular the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While drawing on postmodernist concerns for governmentality, the theoretical edifi ce here is rooted in a Marxian political economy approach, 1 offering a skeptical perspective on calls for security from the international fi nancial institutions and powerful bilateral donors. In examining the political economy of Cambodia’s recent triple transition – from war to peace, from command economy to free market economics, and from authoritarianism to democracy – I argue that donor-promoted notions of security have been rhetorical in terms of concern for humanitarianism. Instead, Cambodia’s donor community has focused on security as it relates to the preservation of market principles.