From the Protected Zone to the Unknown: Trajectories of Second Generation Shan Youth in Thai Public Schools and Their Strategies to Overcome Liminal Legality

Janepicha Cheva-Isarakul





This article explores the everyday experiences of second generation Shan youth at Thai public schools in urban Chiang Mai and their life trajectories after completing middle school (grade 9). Drawing on data from ethnographic fieldwork, it is argued that school is more than a space of differentiation as often portrayed by the literature; it is also space for normalization, protection, inclusion and opportunities. This article also discusses how Shan youths in Chiang Mai put into use the various modes of citizenship they have learned in school to navigate their life outside this “protected zone”.By building an understanding of the day-to-day experiences of inclusions and exclusions of second generation Shan migrants, this article hopes to contribute to broadening discussions on migrant citizenship beyond the legal/illegal dichotomy and generate future dialogue on investigating the mechanisms that produce and sustain illegality.


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 11/2018 (Number 1), Page 19-30)


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