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Biography and Borderlands: Chao Sone Bouttarobol, a Champassak Royal, and Thailand, Laos and Cambodia

  • Ian G. Baird (a1)


Although biographical and life history approaches are potentially important tools for historical geographers, biographical methodologies have rarely been used to specifically investigate borderland dynamics. In this article, I argue that biography can be useful for understanding the ways in which borders have been recognised and negotiated historically. As a case study, I examine the life of Chao Sone Bouttarobol, a member of the Champassak Royal House, who was born in 1895 and died in 1979. As his life story illustrates, the emergence of new national borders had a significant impact on Sone, although family ties and relationships allowed him to cross the national administrative borders that now exist between Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, often with relative ease. Studying one individual makes it possible to explore the ways in which he interacted and negotiated with borders that cut across the Champassak Royal House's traditional space of influence.



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TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia
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  • EISSN: 2051-3658
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