Work Type







The region of Angkor, Cambodia has historically been in a constant state of adjustment. From the early Angkorian Civilization, to the French colonization of 1863 to 1953; and from the Khmer Rouge era to the popular tourist destination it is today, the Angkor region has always been in flux. In 1992, Angkor Wat Archaeological Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in response to the critical condition of the historical monuments. This declaration has caused a rapid increase in tourism, tourist accommodations, and massive implementations of Western-based cultural heritage management programs. This increase has resulted in the displacement of locals, environmental issues, and cultural heritage management plans that have ignored the voices of the local population. This thesis investigates the question: to what extent and in what ways have the consequential power structures produced by Western-centric cultural heritage management practices, and the responding tourism industry, of Angkor Wat Archaeological Park, affected the livelihoods of the local people in Angkor and Siem Reap, Cambodia? Through sociological and anthropological analysis, this thesis is analyzing what tools and methods of both historical and contemporary practices of heritage management have been effective and beneficial to local people, and which have only furthered inequality in a genocide-recovering state. This research is more important today than ever in a changing, globalized world. With the increasing access to international tourism within wealthy countries, the Angkor region, and the problems associated with it, is a key case study in understanding the roles of tourists, international actors, and the local people in evaluating a sovereign nation’s autonomy.


University of Puget Sound


Angkor Wat, Archaeology, Cultural Anthropology, Tourism, Community-Based Tourism, World Heritage, Cultural Heritage Management, UNESCO

Digital Commons Discipline

Asian Art and Architecture | Asian Studies | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Social and Cultural Anthropology | South and Southeast Asian Languages and Societies | Tourism

Geographic Coverage

Angkor, Cambodia; Siem Riep, Cambodia


Asian Studies, Sociology & Anthropology