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O'Reilly, Francis D. (1974) The process of innovation in the subsistence agriculture of north-east Thailand with particular reference to the Lam Pao irrigation area, Changwat Kalasin. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The fieldwork for this thesis was carried out as part of the Lam Pao Socio-economic Survey of the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London. This thesis is concerned with the process of innovation in the subsistence agriculture which characterizes the relatively backward north-eastern region of Thailand and is exemplified by the Lam Pao Irrigation Area. Research was carried out in seven sample villages. In the first chapter the regional and systematic background is delineated. The salient features of the economy of Thailand are outlined and reasons sought for the country's lack of development. Secondly, the peculiar regional problems of the north-east are described and explanations for these problems offered. The systematic background involves two frameworks. On the one hand it involves an assessment of agricultural development theory; on the other hand it involves a study of origin, adoption and diffusion of innovations. Both these theoretical frameworks are critically assessed. The next chapter outlines the importance of irrigation as a catalyst for innovations in Thailand. It then describes the fieldwork area and assesses the common and peculiar features of the study villages. Finally, methods and techniques of study, both in and out of the field, are described and the major problems encountered are listed. In Chapter 3 the subsistence nature of the Lam Pao Sample is investigated. A wide variety of indices are used, both separately and in a composite index, to determine that the area is overwhelmingly subsistent. Next, two other variables crucial to the process of innovation and development are analyzed, viz. the population pressure and the degree of unemployment, be it real or disguised. The subsistence crop of the area is glutinous rice. In Chapter 4 the traditional cultivation of this crop is assessed and then innovations in rice cultivation are analyzed. These include the commercial instead of the subsistence cultivation of rice, the cultivation of non-glutinous rice and the introduction of new strains of rice. In the next chapter new crop innovations in the area are discussed and the potential and appropriateness of each crop is assessed. In subsequent chapters livestock innovations and technical innovations are analyzed and assessed. Then the interrelationship between individual innovations is determined by the use of the Guttman scale. Education, organization and experimentation are critically considered as stimulators to innovation. Finally, conclusions are reached and the relevance of the research findings assessed.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:08

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