Reflections on Grant Evans' The politics of ritual and remembrance: Laos since 1975

Paul T. Cohen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article I reflect on Grant Evans’ landmark and influential The Politics of Ritual and Remembrance: Laos since 1975, the way in which this book relates to the transformation from socialism to post-socialism in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (LPDR), to the crisis of legitimacy of the communist regime, and to issues of social memory, Buddhism, nationalism, iconography, and ethnic minorities. I also consider how other scholars have engaged with The Politics of Ritual and Remembrance both critically and supportively since the publication of the monograph in 1998. I include in my analysis some observations on Evans’ quite radical change in political views over his career as a student, journalist and academic, culminating in his critique of socialism in general and the LPDR in particular and his controversial sympathy for the Lao monarchy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-194
Number of pages14
JournalThe Australian Journal of Anthropology
Issue number2
Early online date23 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


  • Buddhism
  • ethnic minorities
  • Grant Evans
  • iconography
  • Laos
  • nationalism
  • royalty
  • social memory


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