This paper examines the territorial dispute over the Preah Vihear temple on the Thai-Cambodian border. It sheds new light on discussions of the geo-body and nationalism by engaging with cultural theorist Jean Baudrillard's notions of the simulacrum and hyperreality in association with maps. The dispute over the temple of Preah Vihear has centred on one particular map, known as the Annex 1 map, which locates the temple in Cambodian territory. The map has not remained an inanimate object, but has instead become a 'living thing' and attained something of a 'soul'. As a result, any sense of mismapping which results in the loss of territory is no other than the equivalent of a loss of the biological body, as a result of which real conflict ensues. This paper reveals the historical process of how the Annex 1 map has become a simulacrum in Baudrillard's sense of the term, to the extent that it creates an instance of hyperreality to which people are emotionally attached.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations