After two years of fieldwork on the Lao-Chinese border, Vanina Bouté completed her PhD in Social Anthropology at the École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE – Paris) in 2005. She lectured on the anthropology of Southeast-Asia at the University of Aix-Marseille (2005-2007), then was appointed in 2007 associate Professor at the University of Picardie. She teaches there and at the EHESS (Paris) M.A and PhD students. She is a member of CASE (Center of Asian Studies, CNRS-EHESS) and was visiting fellow at the IRASEC (CNRS – Bangkok) in 2012-2014. She has taken part in several regional projects in SEA, including TRANSITER (“Transnational dynamics in SEA”, ANR/CNRS), “Frontier and Ethnicity in Southeast Asia” (Univ. of Singapore), and SEATIDE (PCRD/FP7). She has also worked as a consultant to international organizations (GIZ, UNDP, LANGOCA).

Summary of Project:

Vanina Bouté examines cross-border exchanges and on the development of border market towns in mainland SEA, especially at the Chinese border of Northern Thailand and Northern Laos, with possible comparison in Northern Vietnam and Northern Burma. In all these countries bordering China, and due to Chinese pressure, the border provinces have experienced, to various degree, a similar process of emergence and development of medium-sized market towns, born out of mass migration of ethnic minorities, increased cross-border exchanges and sometimes tourism. Fieldwork will focus on the social and economic context of the development of these market towns and on the emergence of new actors and social groups – political, economic, and cultural – taking advantage of opportunities related to the development of these localities. The proposed research stands at the intersection of urban anthropology and political sociology.