Historical Social Research

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Buapun Promphakping: Well-Being of Returning Migrants in the Rural Northeast of Thailand: Process Oriented Methodology [Abstract]

Migration is generally seen as a key process driving transformation, especially from a ‘traditional agriculture’ to a ‘modern industrial society.’ In Thailand, rural-urban migration has been evident for a long time. However, at present, a great number of the population is still earning its living in rural areas. The force of transformation was not enough to move Thailand beyond being a ‘middle income country.’ This paper explores the implication of migration on well-being of families and communities in the Northeast of Thailand. The empirical data for the analysis of this paper is drawn from a study of three rural villages in the Northeast of Thailand, carried out within a research project named “Personalis-ing the Middle Income Trap.” It will argue that along with the material transformation, returning migrants and villagers have re-prioritized their values. These values and material aspects become decisive factors in the choice of how to earn a living and therefore shape well-being outcomes. This study also found that the rich seem to be experiencing higher happiness after returning to their villages, while the poor do not experience subjective well-being in the same manner.

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