The Journal of Transdisciplinary Environmental Studies' (TES)
Volume 4, Number 2, December. 2005

ISSN 1602-2297


The Power to Change:
Rebuilding Sustainable Livelihoods
in North-East Thailand


Michael J.G. Parnwell
Department of East Asian Studies, University of Leeds, UK
E-mail: M.J.G.Parnwell@leeds.ac.uk


Abstract: This paper describes how a cluster of rural communities in North-East Thailand has managed to reverse more than two decades of environmental degradation that had resulted from the relentless pursuit of modern economic development, resource exploitation and ecosystem transformation. This process of ‘clawing back’ local control over local development, following a period of ‘crowding out’ by extra-local agencies and actors, is set against a back-drop of shifts in the locus and balance of what Dowding (1996, 4) has called ‘outcome power’ or an enabling ‘power to’. The paper identifies the key actors and factors that lie behind this ‘power shift’, and sets these against a background of democratisation processes and localist discourse in post-crisis Thailand.


Keywords: Thailand, localism, Buddhism, power, civil society, crowding out.



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