Akha Souvenir Sellers in Thailand’s Urban Tourist Areas : Social, Economic, and Political Structures

Alexander Trupp




In recent decades one can observe an increasing percentage of highland ethnic minorities living in Thailand’s capital city Bangkok, as well as in medium-sized cities and tourist centres in the North or in the South of the country. This article deals with the ethnic minority group of Akha, and specifically Akha women, who have been migrating into Thailand’s urban and tourist areas in order to sell handicrafts and souvenirs. They have become micro-entrepreneurs or selfemployed street merchants. The core interest of this contribution lies in analyzing and understanding structural conditions that shape the opportunity structures and economic action of Akha own-account workers in Thailand’s urban tourist areas. This includes an analysis of the Akha vendors’ social networks as well as their embeddedness in economic and political structures in the field of urban ethnic businesses.


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 8/2015, Page 1-26)


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