Compromised Margins : Rethinking Power, State and Village Relations in the Borderlands of Thailand and Lao PDR

Soimart Rungmanee




This article, which provides a new approach to exploring the relationship between state power and borderland communities in Northeast Thailand and Laos, argues that the state law and regulations governing the cross-border migration of agricultural workers from Laos to Thailand has been re-negotiated by local officials and villagers from both sides of the borderlands. This article suggests that the spatial characteristics of Northeast Thailand and the Lao borderlands, including their similarities of historical ties, languages, cultures, and geographical proximity, are conducive to re-negotiation of cross-border policies by state authorities and villagers. Case studies of cross-border employment and everyday life in Northeast Thailand and Lao borderlands portray a compromised form of engagement between the state and villagers.


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 6/2013, Page 181-201)


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