Lua Resettled Communities in Northern Thailand: Between (Inter)-National Integration and Ethnic Disintegration.
The aim of the research is to survey ecological, economic and cultural transformations among the members of Lua and Htin ethnic minorities living in communities resettled by the 3rd Army during and after the Cold War in the northern districts of Nan province, a northern Thai province confining with Laos Popular Republic. Fieldwork in 2014 took 3 weeks, from January to February 2014 in Nan Province (Northern Districts - Thung Chang, Chang Klang, Chalorm Prakhiart, Bo Kluea, Santisuk, Mueang) .
During the fieldwork, Amalia Rossi visited the same districts she used to attend during her PhD fieldwork (2007-2012) especially to collect data on issues proposed within WP3 (migrant work among Lua resettled communities). In this survey, she could collect reports concerning valley interpreneurs co-optating individuals or/and groups (up to twenty persons) of Lua unskilled workers with the unfulfilled promise of a fair wage in the construction industry in Bangkok and tourist locations in the South, but further multisited research is needed on the topic as cases of violence and forced labor have been reported by reliable informants. A feedback in Chiang Mai meeting in February 2014 was provided to WP3 research team in the conference entitled: “The ongoing dispossession. Expectable labor migrations among Lua resettled communities in Northern Thailand (Nan Province)”.
Amalia Rossi’s research matches as well with some themes of WP2 (coordinated by Hamburg University) and fieldwork on this topics will take place within the end of this year (depending on the possibility of getting new budget): the main topic on which she already collected information in past years is the current transformation in ethnic affiliation and political identity of former communist Lua ethnic minority members. The topic was already addressed in Euroseas Conference in Lisbon (2013) in a panel coordinated by Prof.J ean Baffie (University of Marseille), with a talk entitled: “Forced resettlement and altitudinal boundaries. The ethnic vertigo of Maoist Lua after the Cold-War.”
Amalia Rossi also contributed to WP4 (coordinated by Cambridge University ) with a seminar (Cambridge, October 2013), a conference (Chiang Mai, February 2014) entitled “Sufficiency Economy and the Institutionalization of Eco-Buddhist Approaches in Northern Thailand: The Case of Phid Tong Lang Phra Royal Project in Nan Province” and a paper (forthcoming) on knowledge investments in Royal environmental projects targeting agricultural habitus of northern mountain Thai citizens living in forested areas (drawing on fieldwork data collected from 2007 and 2014).