This article explores the extension of state power through which local people are controlled, and the ways in which local people deal with and face this control. A Phutai (ผู้ไท) ethnic community in Northeast Thailand, which at one time sided with the Communist Party of Thailand and was thus referred to as a “Communist village,” was selected to serve as the study site. Data collection was by the qualitative method through in-depth interviews and focus group discussions. The study found that the expansion of state power to seize a locality at two different times met with different types of responses and negotiations from the local people. In the late nineteenth century the Thai state, responding to the presence of Western colonial powers, was able to assert its control over local communities through various administrative changes, for example, through state-appointed village heads and the tax-collection system. In this way, the state was able to integrate most outpost areas under its control and avoid being colonized by Western powers. In the twentieth century state power was again seriously contested, this time by the presence and growing influence of Communism in rural areas. However, the state regained political space after the decline of Communism. This paper argues that within the political space that was under the control of the state, local people were able to find their own ways to deal with state power as they constantly negotiated by using their history of involvement with the Communist Party of Thailand.
This paper explores Auntie Duan’s life story, a story that mirrors remarkable female Yunnanese Chinese migrants’ economic agency in the face of numerous vicissitudes caused by contextual and personal tragedies. Auntie Duan (born in 1938) and her family fled from Yunnan to Burma in 1950 after the Chinese Communists took over China. Being a woman, a refugee, and a widow moving repeatedly among borderlands, she led a life characterized by a multiplicity of peripheral positionings. In order to survive and raise her children, she participated in different economic activities, most saliently as a borderland trader. By focusing on her life story based on her oral narratives, I attempt to illustrate her steps of economic initiation in combating a range of adversities. Furthermore, with a comparison to Anna Tsing’s Meratus gendered politics, I look into embedded meanings in gender asymmetry among migrant Yunnanese communities.
The key question this paper addresses is why Sufi devotional literature has been published and consumed in English, and the implications of this phenomenon. The material examined here focuses on literature that is consumed in Singapore: available in bookstores, in institutional archives, online, distributed at Sufi events, and in the private possession of practicing Sufis. I argue that English is used as both a Singaporean vernacular and a cosmopolitan lingua franca, allowing Sufis across the world to communicate with one another. I also argue that the adoption of English is necessarily tied to the rise of digital media and the perception of English as a “modern” marker of prestige and sobriety. This paper is organized in three parts. First, it traces the evolution of a reading public for Sufi devotional literature in Muslim Southeast Asia. Second, it investigates how and why producers of such literature have expressed themselves in English. Third, it analyzes how English operates in conjunction with Arabic in Sufi literature consumed in Singapore. I conclude that Sufi print culture’s adoption of English is a response to both the opportunities and the challenges of the present, constituting a reflection of Sufis’ pedagogical needs as well as an active appropriation of a loaded language.
This article focuses on the limitations of terms and definitions regarding shadow education research in Cambodia. Although shadow education in Cambodia is typically defined as private tutoring taught by mainstream schoolteachers to their own students, other manifestations of it have been missed by most studies on the subject, including my own. By tracing the terms used and the definitions of shadow education in various research studies, I argue that the assumptions made over terms and definitions (i.e., what ought to be the case) limited researchers’ understanding of shadow education in its ontological evolution and complexity (i.e., what is the case). Methodologically, the unintentional recycling of the same definition across time resulted in the epistemic fallacy and concept reification. These outcomes have profound consequences for how the phenomenon may be theorized not only in Cambodia but across the Southeast Asian region. In conclusion, I propose an alternative approach to study shadow education based on critical realism.
Based on ethnographic research on street vendors’ activities in Bandung city, this article attempts to uncover the production process of street food. Drawing on Simone’s (2004) idea of people as infrastructure, the research focuses on street vending activities as a conjunction of heterogeneous activities and modes of production that becomes a platform to support the vendors’ livelihood: for example, the ways in which vendors achieve efficiency in street food production. We need to consider, however, the roles of various actors surrounding the street vending activities that directly or indirectly contribute to the production process of street food, as well as the large network that is created as social infrastructure. This network is an outcome of the ability of vendors, for example, to engage in convivial interactions with customers, to create an intimate relationship with food suppliers, and to engage in “a form of labor exchange” with their neighbors. This article argues that such hybrid contributions on the part of street vendors are their efforts to stabilize the network in a fluid and adaptable way that makes a social infrastructure possible.