This book has demonstrated the importance of forests and wildlife as social and political resources in modern-day Laos. More specifically, it has explained how forests function as symbols that convey socially and politically loaded meanings about Lao identity, aspirations, and authority. It has argued that forest resources provide a basis for discussions about societal change and state authority because of their crucial role in Lao worldviews. It has examined the ways in which the resource-rich rural periphery provides opportunities for people to discuss experiences with forests, wildlife, conservation, and development while also asserting the legitimacy of the Lao state as a worthy leader of the nation. It has also considered the tension that arises when the unifying ideal of prosperity meets the reality of social hierarchy.
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