Keeping the House from Burning Down

Aihwa Ong

in Buddha Is Hiding

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2003 | ISBN: 9780520229983
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520937161 | DOI:
Keeping the House from Burning Down

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This chapter studies the welfare office, where an assembly of strategies and policies shaped the relations between refugee-clients and the local authorities. It first pinpoints how the interactions of these two groups shaped the perceptions of the social workers of good and bad refugees. It then shows how in daily encounters, poor refugees were represented as certain kinds of unworthy subjects who must be taught to be accountable for their situation and to become self-reliant. The chapter also shows that the Khmer-Buddhist notions of family unity and dependency clashed with what Cambodians came to understand as American values.

Keywords: welfare office; social workers; Khmer-Buddhist notions; family unity; family dependency; American values

Chapter.  9820 words. 

Subjects: Migration Studies

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