The Conditions of Establishing the Common Good in Rural Communities: An Analysis of Villagers’ Responses to Environmental Crisis in Cambodia





Published date: 

December, 2020


Tsuey-Ping Lee


Based on the perspectives of Communitarianism, this research examines Cambodian civil society through document analysis, in-depth interviews and field observations conducted in two rural villages in Cambodia. By comparing the two villages, this research explores factors hindering collective actions for common good in the situation that the environmental crisis threatens villagers’ subsistence. The research results show that low education level, low income level, and inherited trauma caused by the Khmer Rouge genocide are factors causing villagers’inactions. Low education level and low income level renders the villagers underestimate their capability to solve the environmental problems. The unhealed trauma creates difficulties for rebuilding interpersonal trust critical for collective action of common good that beneficiaries are uncertain. In addition, this study also finds that income level, physical shape of the village, services and assistances offered by NGOs explain the different sense of community embedded in the two villages.