Over the past 15 years, northwest Cambodia has seen dramatic agrarian expansion away from the central rice plain into the peripheral uplands fuelled by peasant in-migration. Against this background, we examine the nature of relations between the peasantry and the state. We first show the historical continuities of land control processes and how the use of violence in a post-conflict neoliberal context has legitimised ex-Khmer Rouge in controlling land distribution. Three case studies show the heterogeneity of local level sovereignties, which engage the peasants in different relations with authority. We examine how these processes result in the construction of different rural territories along the agricultural frontier and argue that, in this region of Cambodia, the struggles between Khmer Rouge and neoliberal modes of land control are central to state formation processes.
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