Tai Lands and Thailand: Community and State in Southeast Asia

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Edited by Andrew Walker

Studies of the Tai world often treat "state" and "community" as polar opposites: the state produces administrative uniformity and commercialization while community sustains tradition, local knowledge and subsistence economy. This assumption leads to the conclusion that the traditional community is undermined by the modern forces of state incorporation and market penetration. States rule and communities resist.

Tai Lands and Thailand takes a very different view. Using thematic and ethnographic studies from Thailand, Laos, Burma and southern China, the authors describe modern forms of community where state power intersects with markets, livelihoods and aspirations. Modern community is not easily created nor is it inevitable, but rapid social and economic change in the Tai world has provided many opportunities for new forms of communal belonging to emerge.

Tai Lands and Thailand opens up fresh perspectives on a region in transition, and the discussion promises to inform future studies of contemporary sociality in Southeast Asia.

"...offers a timely, stimulating, and unique study on the theme of community." - Baba Yuji

Andrew Walker is a Fellow in the Resource Management in Asia-Pacific Program at the Australian National University.

Asian Studies Association of Australia: Southeast Asian Publications Series
Publication Year: 2009
256 pages, 229mm x 153mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-471-5, Paperback

NUS Press