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Alexandra Kent

Researcher

Gothenburg Research
Institute
Visiting address
Viktoriagatan 13, plan 3
41125 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 603
40530 Göteborg

About Alexandra Kent

Alexandra Kent holds a Masters degree in Social Anthropology from Edinburgh University. Her Masters dissertation was based upon fieldwork carried out in a South Indian village exploring Hindu domestic ritual. She conducted her doctoral studies at Gothenburg University and completed her doctoral dissertation in 2000. The research that this was based on concerned a neo-Hindu revitalisation movement in Malaysia; the study explored the political and ethnic dimensions of the movement in the context of Malaysian Islamisation.

Areas of interest Alexandra Kent’s research has been conducted in South Asia and Southeast Asia. She has worked in India, Malaysia and Cambodia and in each case her work has examined various aspects of religious activity. This has included exploring the interplay between religion and politics, religion in relation to trauma and healing, and the workings of gender in the realm of religion. In the course of these studies she became increasingly interested in the ethnography of ‘security’ and began making use of indigenous understandings of moral and cosmic order to support a critical examination of current academic approaches to security. This interest inspired her to organise a conference in 2007 entitled “Culture and the Configuring of Security: using Asian perspectives to inform theoretical direction”.

Current research Shaping Justice? The Khmer Rouge Tribunal's Influence on Expectations and Experiences of Justice in Cambodia

In 2009, the hybrid tribunal being held in the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) began its first trial of one of those accused of being most responsible for crimes against humanity committed during the Khmer Rouge regime 1975-1979. Among the objectives of the ECCC are those of enabling skill transfer from international to national legal staff, participation by victims and outreach programmes to broaden public awareness. In this way, the ECCC is to contribute to strengthening the Cambodian judiciary and ending the culture of impunity. The purpose of this project is to use anthropological theory and methods to explore how exposure to the ECCC, either as an observer or as a legal or lay participant, affects people’s understandings and practices in relation to justice in Cambodia. It asks what kinds of knowledge people are acquiring through their exposure to the court. The study then seeks to understand what this knowledge means in practice for people living in the aftermath of conflict, in a context of entrenched clientelism, continuing human rights abuses and impunity and fast-paced economic change that is benefitting elites at the expense of the most vulnerable.

Teaching and tutoring

  • Asian Studies
  • Writing Academic English
  • Global Health