Institutionalizing Chineseness. The legacies of Chinese commercial hegemony in the Cambodian silk industry

H. Dahles, J. ter Horst

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Cambodian silk weaving industry shows a remarkable pattern of ethnicised positions interlocked in processes of production and trade stretching beyond Cambodia into the Southeast Asian region and into Europe and the United States. Key commercial positions in the Cambodian silk trading networks are dominated by the Chinese, at least so it seems. In contrast to the bulk of literature on Chinese capitalism, the current study addresses a situation in which the commercial positions are identified as Chinese regardless of the ethnic background of the people who occupy them. While subscribing to the institutional perspective on Chinese capitalism, this article aims to take the debate one step further by arguing that - while a particular institutional embedding is conducive to Chinese proliferation in the business sector - Chinese business practices and representations are themselves subject to processes of institutionalisation. The paper explains how they may develop into an institution that is both a model of and for conducting business. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-229
JournalJournal of Contemporary Asia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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