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    To develop the ethnic groups database where systematized research data are available online and can be made use of by interested parties or individuals, following the subjects or topics of their interests, and thus making it easier for them to sum up the essential points necessary for further in-depth studies. 

    S'gaw youth at Mowakee Chaingmai

    Less savings. Much to share.

    S'gaw's proverb
    Mowakee Chaingmai

    Salak Yom Festival
    Pratupha Temple

    Sea as Home of Urak Lawoi, Moken, Moklen

    Rawai beach Phuket Thailand


    Computer class of S'gaw students
    Mae La Noi , Maehongson

    Khaw Rai (Rice)
    produced from rotational farming
    Li Wo, Kanchanaburi


    S'gaw woman at Hin Lad Nai village

    Fermented Beans

    Important ingredient of Tai


    Phlong(Pwo) woman

    Li Wo village

    Boon Khaw Mai rite

    Phlong at Li Wo


    Little Prince of Tai

    Ordination in Summer of Tai boys


    Boys are ordained as novice monks

     Poi Sang Long is the tradition of the Tai. 

    Be novice monk to learn Buddhism


    Tai-art  mural painting of  Buddha 
    at Wat Chong Kam Chong Klang
    Maehongson Thailand

    Wat Chong-Kam, Chong Klang

    Hmong childs at Ban Kewkarn
  •   Smile

    Smile in problems
    Urak  Lawai at Rawai Phuket
  •   Hybrid




  Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre
Ethnic Groups Research Database
Sorted by date | title


Subject Paganyaw S'gaw Kanyaw (Karen), Politics of Conservation, Community Forest, Swidden Cultivation, Chiangmai
Author Laungaramsri, Pinkaew
Title Redefining Nature: Karen Ecological Knowledge and the Challenge to the Modern Conservation Paradigm
Document Type Book Original Language of Text English
Ethnic Identity Paganyaw, S'gaw, Kanyaw, Karen, Language and Linguistic Affiliations Sino-Tibetan
Location of
Sirindhorn Anthropology Center Library Total Pages 257 Year 2001
Source Regional Center for Social Science and Sustainable Development, Chiang Mai University

This on ethnic matters writing presents a critical analysis of the politics of modern methods of forest conservation in Thailand and the reaction of the Karen towards the changes in the control of the environment. This work also focuses on two aspects. The first one is the history of the forests in Thailand and the roles of scientific forestry in making discourse and the practicing of the forest conservation. The second is the study of Karen ecological knowledge and their reactions towards the mainstream of the conservation paradigm. The study points out that the discourses on “the hill tribes”, “nature” and “conservation” are not only the construct, but they are constantly under modification. The main question is “How has the mainstream of conservation ideology been planted and how has it been challenged?” According to the analysis on the historical development of the forests in Thailand, this study also points out that the idea of forest conservation in Thailand is the output of the social and political changes which changed the concept of the forests to being a major factor in the nation state of Thailand’ civilization projects. Meanwhile, the major factors of the development of the forest conservation ideology in Thailand’s urban society are a legacy of the Western colonial ideology of forest management for commerce, the desire of the nation state of Thailand for civilization projects and the use of resources for development. Furthermore, the building up of the conservation trend is the principal form of the government’s strategy which consists of setting up an institution for control and the management, setting up an institution for giving knowledge and the setting up the state policy. However, the nation state of Thailand is not an institution of unity. Its domestic politics bring about the prime conditions for differences in attitudes and the resources management of the state agencies. This book also consides the foresters and the conservationists’ concepts. It proposes that the effectiveness of the forest conservation ideology does not depend on only the authorities in scientific forestry changing attitudes towards the landscape and the association between the landscape and the communities, but it also depends on the ability to integrate these concepts with the existing class inequality and racial inequality In this aspect, class discrimination and racial discrimination is major factor in structure of conservation ideology in Thai society. The second part of the book studies Karen knowledge and the question about the process of building up and centralising the state’s modern conservation paradigm in order to co-ordinate with the politics of modern conservation. In addition, Karen Ecological Knowledge is able dynamically react to the concepts of nature which are created by many parties in society, especially by the government. The local challenge to the mainstream of forestry ideology is developed via the learning process and the adaptation to modern alien knowledge such as maps and the invention of the tradition for local natural resources management. For this reason, to gain and to use the discourses on the community forests and the swidden cultivation which exist in the community maps, it is able to open and build up the communication tools for the villagers in order to interact with the authorities and the non-government development organizations. The countervailing discourse is used by the Karen as a strategic tool in order to protect their resources and to re-position their space and their marginal identity in Thai society. Thus, the accumulation up of local knowledge takes place in the process of interaction between the mainstream concepts and mainstream practice and the communities’ concepts and the communities’ practice. It is also the Karen fight for acceptance in Thai society.

Text Analyst Pinkaew Laungaramsri Date of Report Apr 19, 2021
TAG Paganyaw S'gaw Kanyaw (Karen), Politics of Conservation, Community Forest, Swidden Cultivation, Chiangmai, Translator -


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