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Pierre PETIT

Mobilities of highlanders in Laos

Pierre Petit is an anthropologist and art historian. His PhD dissertation, on the rituals of the Luba of Katanga, led him eventually to investigate issues of material culture, ethnicity, and urban anthropology in Congo. Since 2003, he works on Laos and more especially on the mobilities of highlanders involved in a rural exodus to the capital-city Vientiane, or to the Mekong plain. This project also investigates the relations between the state and the ethnic minorities, as well as the local conceptions and practices related to modernity. His ethnographic film, Return Trip : Portraits of Tai Dam migrants, explores the situation of rural youths caught in between their village and the city. His recent monograph, History, Memory, and Territorial Cults in the Highlands of Laos: The Past Inside the Present (Routledge 2020) triggers new questions in the field of historical anthropology. Pierre Petit is also the editor of Civilisations, the main journal of anthropology in Belgium.


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