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  Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre
Ethnic Groups Research Database
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   Record

 
Subject Hilltribe, image making in Thai society, Thailand
Author Phiphat Krachaechan
Title Image making of “hilltribe” ethnic groups in Thailand from 1877 to 1977
Document Type Thesis Original Language of Text Thai
Ethnic Identity - Language and Linguistic Affiliations Hmong-Mien
Location of
Documents
SirindhornAnthropology CenterLibrary Total Pages 318 Year 2007
Source Department of History, Faculty of Graduate Studies, Chulalongkorn University
Abstract

The thesis found that the image making of “hilltribe” can be divided into two periods. The first period is before the Second World War (1877-1927). During this period, the images of “hilltibe” as viewed by the Siamese elites were that they were backward, animistic and illogical. From 1877 to 1897, the Siamese elites produced work about ethnic group surveys. In 1912, the word “hilltribe” was used for the first time and the images were that they were low, dirty and backward. Animistic beliefs were regarded as blind, illogical and unscientific.
The second period is after the Second World War (from 1957). The images of “hilltribe” were changed due to threats from communism. Ethnic bias about the hilltribes was that they were a national security threat, a burden on economic progress and a cause of forest encroachment. The tribes who cultivated opium poppies, especially the Hmong, created a negative image from the government. At the same time, hilltribes were exploited by the tourism industry due to the image evoked of traditional livelihood. There was an attempt at ethnic cultural assimilation and the word “Thai hilltribe” was created.
Images of the hilltribes by different groups varied from 1877 to 1927. The Siamese elites were the only group with the image of “forest/hill people”. The images held by westerners were different. The images from the national security perspective were held by police and soldiers. Buddhist monks focused on the spread of Buddhism to prevent communism. However, beautiful images of the hilltribes were created for the benefits of the tourism industry.

Text Analyst Sithiporn Joradon Date of Report Apr 04, 2013
TAG Hilltribe, image making in Thai society, Thailand, Translator Chalermchai Chaichomphu
 
 

 

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