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Buddha Is HidingRefugees, Citizenship, the New America$
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Aihwa Ong

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520229983

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520229983.001.0001

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Keeping the House from Burning Down

Keeping the House from Burning Down

Chapter:
(p.122) Chapter 5 Keeping the House from Burning Down
Source:
Buddha Is Hiding
Author(s):

Aihwa Ong

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520229983.003.0006

This chapter studies the welfare office, where an assembly of strategies and policies shaped the relations between refugee-clients and the local authorities. It first pinpoints how the interactions of these two groups shaped the perceptions of the social workers of good and bad refugees. It then shows how in daily encounters, poor refugees were represented as certain kinds of unworthy subjects who must be taught to be accountable for their situation and to become self-reliant. The chapter also shows that the Khmer-Buddhist notions of family unity and dependency clashed with what Cambodians came to understand as American values.

Keywords:   welfare office, social workers, Khmer-Buddhist notions, family unity, family dependency, American values

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