Scroll Down For Link To Master's Degree Thesis
The village-dwelling Isan people of rural northeast Thailand are in an ongoing struggle for personal identity, prosperity, and equality, as well as a desire for respect and acceptance by their fellow countrymen.
Presently over twenty-one million in population (as of 2004), the Isan people have taken the initiative over the last several decades to seize various opportunities and are currently emerging from their poverty-stricken agrarian roots and lowly social position to becoming the formally-recognized labor class of Thailand.
This ongoing process is occurring despite long-standing economic exploitation and neglect, as well as hindrances placed in their way by their more urbane, class and status-conscious Central Thai cousins, who have customarily dismissed the Isan dwellers as being simpleminded and ignorant. Notwithstanding, their progress is now clearly evidenced by an increasing acceptance by the Thai, together with enjoying a greater significance on a national scale in socio-cultural, economic and political terms.
In this paper, the author attempts to track this metamorphic transformation throughout its course, from beginning through to realization, along with addressing the various issues encountered during the transition period as well as projected future challenges.
Table of Contents
Tables and Maps
"The amiable Isan people of rural Northeastern Thailand have for centuries eked out a subsistence-level existence in less-than-favorable conditions from a austere land with acidic soil that alternately suffers from either floods or droughts. As a result of learning to make do with what they have, they have developed a tough-skinned resiliency and light-hearted love of life that repudiates their indigent predicament." R.M.