Year published :2008

Pages :221 pp.

Size :15x23 cm.

ISBN: 9789741339648

Imagining Communities in Thailand: Ethnographic Approaches

by Mekong Press

Edited by Shigeharu Tanabe

This book explores newly emerging communities and the new practices, knowledge, and power relations that can no longer be explained adequately by the conventional conception of community. In the early 1980s, Benedict Anderson coined the term “imagined communities” to examine the creation and global spread of the nation-state as a collective fiction constructed in the homogeneous and empty time of modernity. Set against this conceptual background, the present volume focuses on the processes of “imagining communities” to explore how people imagine and create their own sense of knowledge, power, and identity.

The essays in this volume consider the communal relations and properties of newly emerging or transforming communities, associations, and networks: the “imagined family” in shaping the modern Thai nation-state, the Asoke community of a new Buddhist movement, a Karen millenarian Buddhist community on the Thai-Myanmar border, networks of producers and sellers in the Night Bazaar of Chiang Mai, female factory workers in Lamphun, and HIV/AIDS self-help groups of northern Thailand.

Taken together, these case studies demonstrate the possibilities of new communities in Thailand and provide a key reference for both students and scholars concerned with a critical approach to sociology, history, development studies, Southeast Asian studies, and anthropology.

About the Editor

Shigeharu Tanabe is Professor of Anthropology at Otani University, Kyoto. He is one of Japanʼs leading social anthropologists and has worked in Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia for nearly four decades. His recent works include Ecology and Practical Technology: Peasant Farming Systems in Thailand (White Lotus, 1994), Wearing the Yellow Robe, Wearing the Black Garbs: A Story of a Peasant Leader in Northern Thailand (Chulalongkorn University Press, 2004, in Thai), and the edited volume with Charles F. Keyes, Cultural Crisis and Social Memory: Modernity and Identity in Thailand and Laos (RoutledgeCurzon, 2002).