Cosmopolitanism and Transnational Migration of Myanmar Migrant Workers in KhonKaen City

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Siwakorn Ratchompoo
Jaggapan Cadchumsang


This article deals with the impact of migration on the cosmopolitanism of Myanmar transnational workers in the context of Khon Kean City. These workers have encountered an "ordinary cosmopolitanism," which are diverse aspects of life in different spaces both at their workplace and in everyday life. Based on qualitative research, the data employed in this article were collected through in-depth and group interviews of 20 key informants as well as general informants. The data
were also gathered from participant and non-participant observations. The field sites of this research included a petrol and gas station where the transnational workers from Myanmar work for as well as other places such as fresh-food markets and shopping malls in Khon Kaen City. The findings from the research showed that despite being low-skilled workers, the migration to Thailand and particularly Khon Kean has allowed for their acquisition of economic capital. Through the collected economic capital, this group of Myanmar transnational workers is able to collect
other forms of capital. Additionally, working and living as transnational workers in Khon Kaen urban area, these workers gain more opportunities in learning new skills. The collected capitals and acquired skills significantly affect the pattern of consumption of transnational workers from Myanmar. Interestingly, such capitals and skills have been employed by the workers in negotiation with different cultures and in their struggle with the structure that restricts transnational workers in the Thai state.


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