Khmer Women on the Move: Exploring Work and Life in Urban Cambodia, by Annuska Derks, offers a fascinating ethnography of young Cambodian women who move from the countryside to work in Cambodia’s capital city, Phnom Penh. Female migration and urban employment are rising, triggered by Cambodia’s transition from a closed socialist system to an open market economy. This book challenges the dominant views of these young rural women—that they are controlled by global economic forces and national development policies or trapped by restrictive customs and Cambodia’s tragic history. The author shows instead how these women shape and influence the processes of change taking place in present-day Cambodia.
““This is a fascinating ethnography about young Khmer women moving to the city to work in the garment factories, in prostitution, and as street sellers. The author makes good use of new theoretical approaches in anthropology that focus on negotiation and creativity in situations of rapid change. The result is not only a welcome new book on post-war Cambodia but an important addition to the literature on women, migration, and labor in Southeast Asia and the world.” —Judy Ledgerwood, Northern Illinois University
April 2008 / ISBN 978-0-8248-3270-4 / $25.00 (PAPER)