Lao peasants on the move: Pathways of agrarian change in Laos

TitleLao peasants on the move: Pathways of agrarian change in Laos
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsCole R, Rigg J
Secondary TitleAustralian Journal of Anthropology
Key themesMigrationLabour

Grant Evans’ body of work on Laos consistently sought to understand how peasant society responded to political, social and economic change. As the Lao peasantry became ever more integrated both nationally and within the wider Southeast Asian region, and relations of market exchange came to dominate rural life, Evans maintained the need to reflect on Laos’ peasant roots to understand resulting pathways of agrarian change. This paper reconnects with this discussion in the contemporary Lao context, focusing on three dimensions of mobility: the widening spatial and sectoral ‘footprints’ of rural livelihoods; physical movement within and beyond rural settings in Laos; and reflections on issues of differentiation. We first track the political and policy changes that have most strongly influenced rural life since Evans’ early research on collectivisation, before exploring ways in which spatial integration, subsistence-to-commercial transition and migration have situated the remnants of Lao peasant society in a world of flows.


Copyrighted journal article



Document Type

Journal Article