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Thawilwadee Bureekul and Stithorn Thananithichot

Research from various countries demonstrates that trust builds social cohesion and conflicts may be solved as a result. Many alternatives for reconciliation in various countries have been studied and introduced to Thailand. However, the implementation of a reconciliation policy in Thailand seems to be impossible without having the atmosphere of peace building and specifically, trust building. This study aims to measure trust and discuss factors that may be problematic for establishing social cohesion, explaining why the process of reconciliation cannot be successful without trust building. The data from the Social Quality survey conducted by King Prajadhipok's Institute in late 2009 was used. This study finds that Thai society is still fragile because of the decreasing trust among people as well as confidence in various institutions, particularly political institutions.

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Putting-out’s return

Informalization and differential subsumption in Thailand’s garment sector

Stephen Campbell

border in northwest Thailand. Ma Phyu’s husband, a Myanmar migrant like herself, was employed as a seasonal agricultural laborer—most recently being paid a day rate to spray pesticides on corn fields near their home. This trimming of threads in which Ma

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Beyond the Glittering Golden Buddha Statues

Difference and Self-transformation through Buddhist Volunteer Tourism in Thailand

Brooke Schedneck

Tourists visit many ancient temples as one of the major tourist activities and sites in the old city of Chiang Mai, Thailand. The first thing they notice is the difference of this religious space compared to more familiar landscapes. The details of

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Delta Ontologies

Infrastructural Transformations in the Chao Phraya Delta, Thailand

Atsuro Morita and Casper Bruun Jensen

possible for local inhabitants as well as local and foreign ‘innovators’ to enact deltaic landscapes in radically divergent ways. Here we focus on divergent but co-existing ontologies in the Chao Phraya Delta in Thailand. Characterizing these ontologies

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Ghost Mothers

Kinship Relationships in Thai Spirit Cults

Andrew Alan Johnson

Grandmother Nak of Phra Khanong district (Ya Nak Phra-Khanong) 1 and her unborn child are among the most feared of Thai ghosts. Nak’s story has been the most popular of all time, appearing in genres ranging from horror to animation to comedy to

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Surasit Vajirakachorn

This study was aimed at appraising the overall situation of social inclusion in the three southern border provinces of Thailand as well as comparing the results with the national level. The results of the analyses revealed significant difference between the social inclusion situation in the southern border provinces and the overall situation of the whole country in terms of last election voting rate; discrimination experienced because of social status, physical handicap, age, sexual harassment, gender, nationality, among others. Priority is given to Thai students over immigrant students in college admission, and there is less chance of an immigrant becoming CEO of a Thai company. Opinions on the inequality between men and women are surveyed, such as who would be better political leaders, who could study at the university level, and who make better business executives. It also refers to the experience of difficulty in using public transport, and experience in using social care facilities for their household members.

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Tiffany Pollock

Fire dancers in Southern Thailand, almost exclusively young, intra-/international migrant men from rural Thailand and Myanmar, are paid to entertain tourists at nightly beach parties. An unacknowledged economy fueled largely by tips, fire dancing is fast becoming an iconic symbol of Thailand’s young backpacker tourism sector but is not considered an acceptable form of labor or a valued artistic practice, because tourist beach spaces are perceived as sites of immorality, excessive drinking, and sexuality. Male fire dancers, then, come to be known as young social deviants who do not belong in the national imaginary and thus must maneuver around a complex politics of belonging with vast differences in social and economic power. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, this article examines how belonging is negotiated among Burmese fire dancers working in Thailand, and how experiences of belonging are shaped by spatialized gendered moralities and masculinities that operate within the fire dancing scene.

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En-Gendering Insecurities

The Case of the Migration Policy Regime in Thailand

Philippe Doneys

The paper examines the migration policy regime in Thailand using a human security lens. It suggests that insecurities experienced by migrants are partly caused or exacerbated by a migration policy regime, consisting of migration laws and regulations and non-migration related policies and programs, that pushes migrants into irregular forms of mobility and insecure employment options. These effects are worse for women migrants who have fewer resources to access legal channels while they are relegated to insecure employment in the reproductive or informal sectors. Using a gender and human security analysis, therefore, reveals how the migration policy regime, often informed by a restrictive national security approach, can clash with the human security needs of migrants by creating a large pool of unprotected irregular migrants with women occupying the most vulnerable forms of employment. In conclusion, it is suggested that this ‘en-gendering’ of human insecurities could be overcome if gender equality was designed into policies and guided their implementation.

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Alms, Money and Reciprocity

Buddhist Nuns as Mediators of Generalised Exchange in Thailand

Joanna Cook

In this paper I examine the part that women, in the ambiguous role of Buddhist nun (mae chee), now take in the emblematic Buddhist practice of alms donations. The monastic office of 'mae chee' is complicated. It is conveyed through the ritual adoption of religious vows and is usually undertaken for life. However, mae chee ordination is only partial and its status is far below that of monks. In Thai law mae chee are regarded as pious laywomen (upasikas) and the Department of Religious Affairs does not mention them in its annual report. Even so, because they are said to have renounced the world they do not have the right to vote. Owing to this ambiguity mae chee are able to employ both the ascetic practices of renouncers (such as accepting alms) and those of laywomen (such as offering alms). Mae chee, while debarred from the alms round, both receive alms from the laity and donate alms to monks. Furthermore, mae chee receive monetary alms from the laity on behalf of the monastic community as a whole. I argue that by handling money given to the monastic community mae chee mediate in a relationship of generalised reciprocity between the monastic community and the lay society. By donating alms to monks, mae chee appear to be reaffirming their status of partial ordination, yet in order for them to be able to receive alms donations from the laity they must see themselves, and be recognised by the laity, as an integral part of the monastic community. A nuanced understanding of these economic, religious and gendered roles is crucial to our understanding of the incorporation of women into the monastic community and the ways in which gift practices are related to interpersonal and group dynamics in the context of modern Thai monasticism.

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Encountering the Supernatural

A Phenomenological Account of Mind

Julia Cassaniti and Tanya Marie Luhrmann

In this article we compare the encounter with the supernatural—experiences in which a person senses the immaterial—in Thailand and in the United States. These experiences appear to be shaped by different conceptions of the mind. In the US, there is a sharp, natural division between one's mind and the world; in Thailand, individuals have the moral responsibility to control their minds. These differences appear to explain how people identify and sense the supernatural. In the US, it is an external, responsive agent; in Thailand, it is an energy that escapes from an uncontrolled mind. Here we approach phenomenology—the experience of experience—comparatively, identifying patterns in social expectations that affect the ways in which humans think, feel, and sense. We take an experiential category of life that we know to be universal and use it to analyze cultural concepts that influence the enactment and interpretation of feeling and sensing.