chapter  4
17 Pages

Will dreams come true? The transformation of social inequality structures in Cambodia: experiences of a new generation of youth managing the uncertainties of their life course

ByCHIVOIN PEOU, JENS O. ZINN

Introduction After a period of political instability, civil war and totalitarian regimes, Cambodia has started to transform into a democratic state with a neo-liberal market economy. Emerging from its devastated past, the now demographically young society embraces the opportunities of a new age and pushes towards a new capitalist Cambodia, hoping for a better life for its people. However, intense and quick transformation processes, such as compressed modernization (Chang 1999), have proved to bring not only opportunities but also social, economic, technological, and environmental risks. Social transformation processes are complex and build on the institutional and cultural fragments available. As a result, engaging in global market liberalism has proven for many Asian countries to bring not only wealth for some but also increased social tensions and inequalities (e.g. Ganguly-Scrase & Scrase 2001).