Research Student: Nisanee Chaiprakobwiriya
Gender, Identities and Politics of Development: A Case of Highland Sustainable Tourism in Northern Thailand
My PhD thesis examines the ways in which highland women negotiate their identities with different power players in sustainable tourism.
Highland communities of Southeast Asia have resisted incorporation into more powerful nation states. While the communities manage to sustain a relative autonomy, their resistance creates politico-cultural marginalisation.
The Cold War geopolitics of the highland communities along the Thailand-Myanmar border have contributed to ongoing foreign aid and development efforts in this region.
Since then, the highland communities have been exposed to the influence of states, the market and NGOs. Moreover, the highland region in northern Thailand is one of the country’s most important tourist attractions.
Sustainable tourism has created a platform for those development-related parties to influence and repackage image of highland or minority women to accommodate their political or commercial agendas.
Therefore, this study investigates how the development process can impact minority communities and their gender relations.
In turn, strategies that highland women apply to deal with such influential actors under social, political, economic and cultural constraints will inform us about the fluidity of their gendered identities.
I graduated from Thammasat University, Thailand with a BA in International Affairs in 2009.
In 2013, I obtained MA in International Development from School of International Service, the American University in Washington D.C.
Prior to beginning my PhD studies, I spent a few years working in policy research, training and monitoring and evaluation for NGOs in Thailand and Washington D.C. My previous work experience mainly involved issues on migration, community development and gender and economic impact.