Dale Carnegie, The Carpenters, and Cambodia

Document Type



The problems of politics in the postmodern were never made more clear to me than during a visit to Cambodia and Vietnam in 1990. The following is an autoethnographic tale of my struggles as a white, middle-class, female, political sociologist encountering these remains of the Vietnam War. I write about my problem of locating a stable place for political action in the antifoundationalist epistemology of postmodern thought and within the hyperreality of postmodern media culture. I juxtapose a journal I kept while in Cambodia with my subsequent reflections on this journal to explore the ironies of lines between the “reality” of war and the “unreality” of U.S. postmodern culture. Bringing the materiality of body, place, and time and the fictions and fantasies of desire into sociological writing may be a way of writing the political in a way that pursues social justice.


Cambodia; Ethnology; Political participation; Political sociology; Postmodernism; Social justice; Sociology--Political aspects; Vietnam


Philosophy | Politics and Social Change | Sociology


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