Living with Risk: Precarity & Bangkok's Urban Poor

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By Tamaki Endo

The informal economy in Bangkok, Thailand, offers upward mobility but is fraught with risk. For members of the urban lower class, residence and occupation are closely inter-connected. Shifts in priorities in housing, occupation and education as family circumstances change affect the way they deploy their limited financial resources, while home fires and job lay-offs make it necessary for poor communities to accommodate frequent changes of residence and variations in production and consumption.

People with limited resources are extremely sensitive to uncertainty. Living with Risk examines how lower class communities in the inner city and the urban fringe of Bangkok view their employment prospects and living conditions, and how they manage risk. The author draws on two case studies, one considering the situation of women who became self-employed after losing factory jobs during Thailand’s economic restructuring in the late 1990s, and the second a community displaced by a devastating fire. The book’s detailed examination of the dynamics of the informal economy makes a substantial contribution to the literature on development economics in urban areas.

"... data-driven, informative, narratively detailed, theoretically cautious and extremely well organised..."
Non Arkaraprasertkul, Harvard University

"I recommend it as a good introduction to those interested in learning more about the daily lives of the urban lower class and the dynamics of the informal economy in cities in Southeast Asia."
Danny Marks

“The fact that Endo draws upon literature produced in three languages is extremely useful for those who do not read Thai or Japanese and her use of multiple qualitative and quantitative data sources including statistics, maps, structured and informal interviews and surveys makes it a robust analytical resource”
Gisèle Yasmeen, University of British Columbia


Tamaki Endo teaches economics and area studies at Saitama University.

 


Kyoto CSEAS Series on Asian Studies 10
Publication Year: 2014
360 pages, 229mm x 152mm
Illustrated with 30 photographs and 20 maps and figures
ISBN: 978-9971-69-782-2, Paperback

NUS Press and Kyoto University Press