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Dynamism of land use and livelihood strategies among highland ethnic minorities

Rice farmers Mae Wang Chiang Mai Province

Image credit: Takeaway on Wikimedia Commons

2019-2021

Together with the Thai anthropologists, Dr Mukdawan Sakboon, Dr Prasit Leepreecha, and Dr Tawei Chu from Chiang Mai University, the research team will use the innovative qualitative research method of story completion to document and illustrate livelihood changes in the highlands of Chiang Mai Province, Thailand.

Over the past 30 years, livelihoods among highland ethnic groups have changed dramatically, with government-orchestrated shifts away from opium production and self-sufficient agriculture towards cash and mono crop cultivation, capitalist systems of production, and tourism business. Not only has this created new definitions of “rich” and “poor” villagers, but it also changed people’s relationship to the natural environment. In the fluid political environment of Thailand, villagers’ livelihoods and their uses of the land they live on have again come under scrutiny, raising fears of expropriation and displacement.

This project aims to use the story completion technique together with visual media to produce narratives that give villagers a new channel to engage policy and the broader public with their personal experiences and livelihood changes.

Project team

Dr Marco J Haenssgen

Dr Marco J Haenssgen
(GSD, Warwick, Principal Investigator)

Dr Mukdawan Sakboon
(Chiang Mai University)

Dr Prasit Leepreecha
(Chiang Mai University)

Dr Tawei Chu
(Chiang Mai University)