Increasing prosperity in Northeast Thailand over the past 30 years has prompted researchers to wonder how changing economic conditions have affected the Rural Thai in that region. In 1982/83 and again in 2008/09, Jonathan Rigg and Albert Salamanca did a longitudinal (or “panel”) study of two villages in Mahasarakham Province in Isan, the term often […]

Over the past 60 years, Rural Thai villagers have changed from poor, isolated farmers to relatively prosperous suburbanites who seek jobs, conveniences, income and connections. A feature article last week in the prominent Japanese business journal Nikkei Asian Review explored the dramatic changes that anthropologist William Klausner has witnessed in his 60 years of life […]

The northeast section of Thailand has changed from a traditional, isolated peasant society into a region of sophisticated rural dwellers. A recent journal article by Somchai Phatharathananunth describes the social, economic, and political transformations over the past several decades in rural Northeast Thailand, which is usually referred to as “Isan” or “Isaan.” The author, an […]

The role of rice in the diet, culture, economy, and politics of Thailand received renewed attention in recent weeks as the country prepared for its national elections. The current political dispute in Thailand, though mostly peaceful, has garnered international news for several months focusing on the rural/urban divide in the nation. The Khaleej Times, a […]

Scholars and policy makers have tended to view Rural Thai villages as stable communities where people normally retain permanent residences. That stability is believed to be an essential ingredient in fostering both a healthy society and a productive economy. Migrations of people, according to that view, are a problem that officials and policy makers need […]

Rural Thai farmers are coping with increased costs of fuel by abandoning their machinery and relearning how to use water buffaloes to plough their rice fields. According to a news report last Saturday, diesel tractors have been used commonly all over the Thai countryside in recent decades, but with the high cost of fuel recently, […]