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The development of ethnic minority souvenir business over time and space

Trupp, Alexander (2015) The development of ethnic minority souvenir business over time and space. International Journal of Asia Pacific Studies, 11 (1). pp. 145-167. ISSN 1823-6243

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    Abstract

    The development of ethnic minority souvenir businesses in Thailand was once initiated by external actors and mostly limited to the northern region, but over the last decades, an increasing number of ethnic minorities has gone into business for themselves and migrated southwards to Thailand's urban and beachside tourist areas such as Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Phuket or Koh Samui. This paper focuses on the ethnic minority group of Akha who have moved temporarily or permanently into Thailand's urban tourist areas in order to sell souvenirs as street vendors. This research aims to reconstruct and understand the Akha migratory processes into Thailand's urban tourist areas and to analyse agency perspectives of these micro-entrepreneurs as well as their embeddedness in social, political and economic structures. The author argues that the development of Akha souvenir business over time and space can only be understood by analysing conditional changes and structuring in both Akha homeland and migration destination areas. On the individual or agency level, moreover, the author shows that Akha vendors' motivation to migrate and enter the own-account souvenir work is not only tied to economic but also social and emotional factors. The empirical data collection of this study involved participant observation, informal conversations, semi- structured interviews and personal network analysis which were conducted at the various living and working areas of Akha souvenir vendors across Thailand. Existing research on highland groups in Thailand has focused on village case studies while urban perspectives beyond the northern city of Chiang Mai have been neglected. This research thus aims to enrich existing literature by integrating data from empirical research carried out in urban and tourist areas in the capital city Bangkok and the southern beachside destinations.

    Item Type: Journal Article
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Ethnic minority business, souvenirs, migration and tourism, Akha, Thailand
    Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
    H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
    Divisions: Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) > School of Tourism and Hospitality Management
    Depositing User: Repo Editor
    Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2016 13:04
    Last Modified: 28 Nov 2016 13:04
    URI: http://repository.usp.ac.fj/id/eprint/9491
    UNSPECIFIED

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