Table of Contents:
The aim of this dissertation is to investigate emotions in Cambodia using participants’ reflections of the Khmer Rouge period (1975-1979). For this purpose, interviews with survivors of the Khmer Rouge period in the rural village of Phum2 were recorded in two field visits to Cambodia (2016, 2018). The participant observation method was used to build a basis of trust, which also made available the observation of facial expressions and gestures for analysis. The recorded interviews were transcribed and analyzed for emotional content. The emotions identified during the research are described, contextualized and analyzed in this work, which contributes to research on Cambodia – particularly to the emic expression of emotions. The research results show the character and dimensions of emotions by Cambodians against the backdrop of the Khmer Rouge period. Next, the results provide information about how far the Khmer Rouge period has been emotionally processed by the research participants. Third, the results highlight the temporality of emotions in the research context and demonstrate that the incidence of personal and social recollection of the Khmer Rouge period contrasts sharply with the investigation of legal recollection by the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC). The results also highlight the importance of Buddhist (i.a. karma) and Cambodian (e.g. mien muk, mien moat; sangsoek) concepts for the analysis of emotions. In conclusion, the results thus contribute to the internationally framed debate surrounding the institution of the ECCC, which is often criticized for excluding Cambodian norms and values for dealing with the past. Finally, novel approaches to treating survivors of the Khmer Rouge are presented as well as suggestions for the optimization of existing forms of therapy by local mental health providers.