Negotiating Cultural and Social Capital in a Multi-ethnic Community in Sakon Nakhon Province

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Nipaporn Maleelai
Jaggapan Cadchumsa


This paper, aims to investigate how cultural capital and social capital have been strategically employed by local people to build up community strength in response to the expansion of religious capitalism in their multi-ethnic area. Based on qualitative research methodology, data used in this paper was partially drawn from formal and informal interviews with key informants as well as participant observation conducted in Ban Na Kluea, one of the four villages located in the multi-ethnic area. The research reveals that the growth of religious capitalism in this sociopolitical context has allowed for social solidarity among village members, who attempt to make use of social capital-a strong kinship network-for protecting their own community culture. A social capital that can be change to a culture capital, and also there can be turn back again, the cultural of local communities can revived by the social capital. The local people also employ cultural capital; namely, the organization of annual Buddha image bathing ceremony, the construction of museum to conserve ancient palm leaf Buddhist manuscripts; including the chanting and inscribing palm leaf manuscripts. This creates a powerful network of people from different ethnic backgrounds in this area, and eventually enable them to negotiate, on the basis of embedded local beliefs, with more powerful religious capitalism.

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Maleelai, N., & Cadchumsa, J. (2015). Negotiating Cultural and Social Capital in a Multi-ethnic Community in Sakon Nakhon Province. Journal of Mekong Societies, 11(2), 139–164. Retrieved from