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Dissertationsprojekt von Rosalie Stolz

Concepts and practices of kinship and sociality among the Khmu of north-western Laos (working title)

The overall aim of this anthropological research project is to approach the concepts and practices of sociality and especially kinship of the Khmu, a “minority” ethnic group situated in the uplands of north-western Laos. Emphasis will thereby be given to their dynamics and transformation; the latter as an outcome of recent large-scale socio-economic and political changes. The Khmu, the largest ethnic minority in the Lao PDR, are known from the rather scarce ethnographic sources to have (had?) a social organisation in which kinship is of overall importance, with several rules governing kinship relations, especially marriage relations. In this research project the following questions will be addressed: how are those rules and emic concepts of kinship made sense of and related to everyday practice – varying according to gender and age? To which other parts of sociality is kinship connected? What is included in the Khmu concept of sociality; which role play, for instance, ancestral spirits and the dead? How do they locate themselves in relation to other groups in Laos and in neighbouring states? Based on an understanding of Khmu notions and practices of kinship and sociality, the local perspective on and dealing with several “exogenous” transformation processes, such as those triggered by large scale relocation programmes, will be studied.


Short biography

Rosalie Stolz studied socio-cultural anthropology, philosophy and botany at the University of Cologne. Since 2007 she tutored several tutorials and was student assistant to Prof. Dr. Martin Rössler. Her interests include among others anthropological perspectives on kinship, moral anthropology and philosophy, human-environment relations. Her master thesis was about the emerging field of climate anthropology and the anthropological approaches to the issue of climate change (Die Klimaethnologie.). After finishing her studies in 2012 she wrote as a graduate assistant e-learning modules on fundamental fields of anthropological enquiry and taught a course on new perspectives on the anthropological study of kinship. Since April 2013, she concentrates on her research project about notions and practices of kinship and sociality among the Khmu in the uplands of north-western Laos and their recent transformations.



“Looking at Environmental Change through the Lenses of Gender and Sociality: Economic and Environmental Transformations in a Khmu Village in the Lao PDR”
11-14 August 2015 at the 8th EuroSEAS Conference, Vienna


Portrait photo: Roman Oranski