Social Networks and the Resilient Livelihood Strategies of Dara-ang Women in Chiang Mai, Thailand
Ayuttacorn, A. (2019). “Social Networks and the Resilient Livelihood Strategies of Dara-ang Women in Chiang Mai, Thailand”, Geoforum, Volume 101, May 2019, pp. 28- 37. (online: http://cmuir.cmu.ac.th/handle/6653943832/63760)6.
This study examines Dara-ang women’s livelihood strategies as they struggle to negotiate environmental conservation policies. The Thai state adopts conservation ideology as a form of legitimation for its governance practices. As part of this, members of the Dara-ang ethnic minority group, who are migrants from Shan State, Myanmar, are both racialized and vilified for being supposed forest encroachers. When they are dispossessed of their agricultural land and forest products, some are forced to migrate to cities and become wage laborers. Based on ethnographic research, this study identifies and describes some of the capital assets and institutions that support women in strengthening their leadership roles. Dara-ang women form networks with domestic and international NGOs, academics, and businesspeople as a way to negotiate state control. They create alternative practices – namely organic farming, performance groups, and off-farm activities – as livelihood strategies to achieve sustainable use of natural resources and increased income, food security, and well-being.