Re-examining the Values of Self-Reliance in Thailand’s Social Contexts through the Author’s Fieldwork Experiences and Reflexivity

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Thaenphan Senaphan Buamai


          This re-examination of the values of self-reliance in Thailand’s social contexts begins with the survey and the review of Dependency Theory by some of the Neo-Marxists. The theory significantly critiqued the unsymmetrical structure of global capitalism. This later contributed to knowledge spaces for alternative development so as to help to make change for either a fairer structure or a delinking from such existing unfair structure. The values of self-reliance as one of the approaches for alternative development have been able to insert themselves within the knowledge demarcation of development practices. Such values were clearly introduced and cultivated in people’s consciousness in the nation since the 1997 economic crisis as it was believed that people suffering from its effects would be able to survive by themselves in this hard time. These have possibly brought about the inability and uncriticality of the people in the long run to carefully consider such values’ pros and cons and to freely tap into other possibilities of development practices. It has been as if the people had been domesticated to such values’ hegemonic power and influence. However, to understand these cannot be devoid of the review of Gramsci’s and Foucault’s concepts of Hegemony and Governmentality respectively. The paper also proposes that being deceptively domesticated ontologically exists. Superficially, complying with such values does not mean that the people are truly domesticated. Under the guise of being deceptively domesticated, some people start forming intellectually reciprocal relations rather than being radically self-reliant but isolated as before. There is no use for them relying on themselves without any outside care for. This seems truly inclusive development in their views.


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