Connecting the disconnected: Social Network of Isan Labor Brokers

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Thanapauge Chamaratana
Dusadee Ayuwat
Oranutda Chinnasri


The objective of this research was to study the social network of Thai-Isan labor brokers using the conceptual frame of Wasserman and Faust (1999). Data was collected through in-depth interviews as well as participatory and non-participatory observations. The key informants were 30 labor brokers in six provinces of Isan: Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Buriram, and Nong Khai. The results of the study indicated that the social networks of Isan labor brokers were one-mode networks, connected networks, and informal networks. Social networks were built from personal relations and common experience and then extended vertically and horizontally through exchange interactions with stable boundaries. The relationships in networks were multi-relational, benefit exchange, balanced reciprocity and negative reciprocity, and the duration of relationships was based on personal relations.


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Chamaratana, T., Ayuwat, D., & Chinnasri, O. (2013). Connecting the disconnected: Social Network of Isan Labor Brokers. Journal of Mekong Societies, 7(3), 27–52. Retrieved from