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Production, consumption and imagination in rural Thailand.

Rigg, J. and Ritchie, M. (2002) 'Production, consumption and imagination in rural Thailand.', Journal of rural studies., 18 (4). pp. 359-371.


The transformation of rural areas from zones of production to arenas of consumption is well established in the literature focusing on the developed world. Less so the developing world. The paper opens by providing a critique of the construction of the rural idyll in Thailand, tracing this back to what is sometimes suggested to be the first piece of Thai literature, an inscription dated to 1292. The discussion then turns to show how this construction of a (imagined) rural past infuses ideas about the present and the policies promoted by local NGOs and others. The consumption of rural Thailand by new classes, tacitly embodying this imagined past, is exemplified by reference to two case studies; a hotel with a ‘working’ rice farm and an elite school. The infiltration of new groups into rural Thailand, with new agendas has, in some instances, created tensions while also providing new opportunities for traditional rural classes. The paper concludes by considering, using Thailand as an exemplar, whether understandings of trajectories of rural change based largely on work undertaken in the North can be applied to countries of the South.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Thailand, Consumption, Production, Agrarian change, Rural restructuring, Post-productivism.
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Record Created:17 Nov 2006
Last Modified:04 Aug 2011 09:21

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