S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) 국제지역연구 국제지역연구 vol.02 (1993)
태국내 소수종족에 관한 연구
Ethnic Minority Groups in Thailand
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 지역종합연구소
- 지역연구, Vol.02 No.4, pp. 77-100
- In Thailand, there exist a number of small ethnic groups whose culture, history, religions and languages are different from those of the Thai. They are the Chinese, the Malay-Muslims, and the Hill-Tribes, to mention a few.
The Chinese have integrated easily into Thai society because of their long settlement in Thailand, their intermarriages with the Thai, common religious background, similar physical features, and the national integration policy of the Thai government.
The Malay-Muslim are a majority group in the southern provinces of Pattani, Naratiwat, Yala and Satun. The Thai government has maintained a divide-and-rule policy in these provinces for the Malay-Muslims. The relations between the Malay-Muslims and the Thai government have been particularly tense and with serious conflicts, caused by the antagonistic religious belief and national identities. Though the Malay-Muslims are forced to be integrated into Thai society, they have been engaged in the separatist struggles against the Thai govermment to secure an autonomous state of Muslims in the region.
In the northern mountainous region of Thailand, there are more than 20 Hill-Tribes, including Yao, Meo, Khamu, Akha, Lisu, Lahu and Karen. These Hill-Tribes have employed slash-and-burn farming method, moving from place to place every 2-3 years to make new fields out of jungle. Their form of agriculture has caused a large-scale destruction of forest, a serious problem faced by the Thai govermment. The Hill-Tribes are nomadic people, living in the border areas between Thailand, Laos and Myanmar, with different languages and customs from the people living in the plain. Thus, they lack a sense of nationality as the Thai people and their national ioentities do not fit well into the territorial boundaries of the nation-states.
The Thai government has made various efforts to integrate ethnic groups into the main-stream Thai society through education, persuasion, and, also, by force. The Thai royal family are often instrumental in implementing national integration policies. By taking more tolerant attitudes towards distinctive cultures of ethnic groups, the Thai govermment has recently achieved a certain degree of national integration even for the defiant Thai-Muslims and Hill-Tribes.