Construction of social space in Thai hill tribe ethnic groups in Kamphaeng Phet province
Keywords:ethnic identity, marginalization, migration, social space construction, Thai hill tribe
The main purposes of this research were to study the migration, marginalization and construction of social space of the Thai hill tribe ethnic groups in Kamphaeng Phet province. The key informants were 70 people who were mainly Hmong, Mien, Karen, Lahu, LiSu, and Lua, with ﬁve government ofﬁcers and ﬁve from the Thai lowland. The research employed a qualitative methodology, using an interpretation paradigm. Data were ob- tained from interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observations. A phenomenological presentation was used to conceptualize emigration, marginalized people, and the construction of social space. It was found that the Thai hill tribe ethnic groups emigrated from Yunnan province to Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand. Eventually, the government did not allow them to live in the forests and they were moved to lowlands without proper management. There, they lacked some of basic human needs, had no agricultural land, and their dignity was compromised. However, they joined in the con- struction of social spaces by using a new dimension by being good citizens. These social spaces include social and cultural, economic, educational, political, and natural resource and environmental dimensions. Despite adversity, the Thai hill tribe ethnic groups could construct their social space by adapting their new identity in the context of Thai society.
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This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/