Historical Social Research

Noriyuki Suzuki: The Formation Process for Civil Society in Northeast Thailand: A Social Research Case Study of Two Villages [Abstract]

Using a process-oriented methodology, this paper examines the ongoing interdependent processes of both macro and micro civil society using a case-study undertaken in two villages in Northern Thailand. Two forms of civil society are theoretically defined and examined in this paper. The first form, ‘grass-roots’ civil society, was formed in Thoongpong of the villager’s own initiative. The second form, ‘top-down’ civil society, was created in the village of Phandon through government initiative. Survey data collected shows that following the government instability and subsequent lack of continuous support for village civ-il society groups and projects, the politically autonomous and independently formed ‘grass-roots’ civil society of Thoongpong has continued to thrive in contrast to the ‘top-down’ civil society of Phandon, which has dried up without continued government support. While further research into this subject is necessary, it is the author’s opinion that given the current Thai political climate, ‘grass-roots’ civil society is more sustainable in rural Thailand and should thus be promoted more than ‘top-down’ civil society projects at present.

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