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Hirsch, Philip (1987) Participation, rural development, and changing production relations in recently settled forest areas of Thailand. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This study examines aspects of change and development in two peripheral Thai communities. Rural development is seen as a generic term used to describe processes of change occurring or meant to occur in rural areas of countries such as Thailand, its desirability or direction depending on the point of view of the analyst or practitioner concerned. It is observed that participation is stressed increasingly as an essential element in such development. Since a dynamic common to most forms of rural development is incorporation into the wider structures of state and capital, participation becomes an issue of the "terms of incorporation". These differ significantly depending on which point of view among the many groups of "developers" and "developed" we choose to adopt. The main argument of the thesis is illustrated with reference to the situation of two recently settled communities on the northwestern periphery of the Central Plains of Thailand. Issues of rural development and participation are related to changes in production relations being brought about to show that incorporation in the name of increasing control within the wider system leads to a loss of control over local material and social resources necessary for production on the part of the poor. Alternative attempts to regain control are discussed, and implications for participatory development as a struggle over terms of incorporation on the part of the rural poor are drawn. The study first examines rural development from a theoretical perspective, and relates it to historical processes and the Thai social formation. It goes on to set out the general and local geographical contexts of recently settled areas. An account of production in the study villages is followed by a discussion of differentiation. Finally, the themes of cooperation and participation are taken up and related to issues of control and power.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:06

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