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Buddhist Ethics, Consumption Choices and Well-Being in a Sub-Urban Community in Northeastern Thailand
Spending Well, Being Well
Buddhist ethics, consumption choices and well-being in a sub-urban community in Northeastern Thailand
Bachelor Thesis of Development Studies
Andrea Zipprich student registration number 0633291 Supervisors: Dr. Detlev Haude, Judith Westeneng MSc, Dr. E. de Jong & Dr. L. Knippenberg Nijmegen, June 2009
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This research could only be set up, conducted and distilled into a thesis through the interaction with others. From this interaction I could draw different forms of support and input. Therefore I would like to express my appreciation to different persons who have played a role for the realization of this research. First of all, I would like to thank Dr. Edwin de Jong, Dr. Luuk Knippenberg, Judith Westeneng and Dr. Detlev Haude for their assistance during the preparation, conduction and writing phase of this research project. I also want to thank Theo van der Weegen for his comments on the statistical analysis of the survey. In Thailand, it was of great help to be supported by the faculty of Humanities and Social Science, especially by the lecturers from the Social Development department Dr. Dusadee Ayuwat and Dr. Buapun Promphakping. Conducting a research in an unknown environment can only be successful if 'insiders' are of assistance. In my case, this assistance was vital for the success of the research out of three reasons. First of all, I was barely acquainted with the cultural context of Thailand and the Isan. Secondly, I was not able to communicate with people directly since I had no command of the Thai language. Thirdly, the amount of the surveys that were to be taken within only a couple of days was far more than I could have managed to do. Therefore, the assistance of Thai students was crucial. I especially would like to thank Toey and Aim for their facilitating role in the conduction of the surveys. I am also grateful to Oh, Tar, Teaw, Pei and Jay Chou for executing the survey. Nui, Poh and BB, thank you for your patience and intuition in making verbal and non-verbal communication with the interviewees possible. Doing research in a community, hoping to get insight in different aspects of life there, asks for the openness and cooperation of the leaders and members of this community. Fortunately, we encountered a very generous and open community leader in Sri Than 4, as well as helpful and interested inhabitants. My gratitude goes to all of those Sri Thanians who have played a facilitating role for this research, especially those who were ready to take some time to share their experiences and opinions with me. Finally, I don't want to miss out to thank my fellow students Rachelle and Iris for the pleasant and encouraging team work in Sri Than. I am equally grateful to Nui, Alina and Mariska for their comments during the writing process of this thesis, as well as Franzi and Julia for their emotional support.
Andrea Zipprich Nijmegen, June 2009
CONTENTS list of figures, tables and boxes 1. Introduction 2. Theory, research questions and analytical framework 2.1 Theoretical framework 2.1.1 Well-being 2.1.2 Consumption choices 2.1.3 Decision making and narrative 2.1.4 Religious beliefs and ethics 2.2 Research questions 2.3 Analytical framework 2.3.1 Concepts 2.3.2 Conceptual model 3. Methodology 3.1 Methods of data collection 3.1.1 Community profile 3.1.2 Survey 3.1.3 Case studies 3.2 The interviewees 4. Background: Thailand and the research location 4.1. Thai Buddhism 4.1.1 Multiple rebirth and karma 4.1.2 Thai Buddhist attitudes towards material wealth 4.2 Sufficiency economy 4.3 Thai societal structure 4.5 The research location 4.5.1 The North East (Isan) 4.5.2 Sri Than 4 6. Results: Consumption choices, Buddhist ethics and well-being 6.1 Well-being and consumption 6.1.1 Family relations, health and education 6.1.2 Safety, food and decent housing 6.1.3 The material basis 6.1.4 Assets and luxury goods 6.1.5 Debts and investments 6.1.6 Spiritual well-being and religious spending 6.1.7 The community 6.1.8 The factor of time 6.2 Weltanschauung, Buddhist ethics and ideal behavior 6.2.1 The five Buddhist morals 6.2.1 Sufficiency 6.2.1 Karma and merit 7. Conclusion 7.1 Idealistic and materialistic aspects of well-being linked up 7.2 Unifying different desires and motives 1 3 3 3 4 5 6 7 7 7 8 9 9 9 9 10 11 12 12 12 13 13 14 14 14 15 15 15 15 16 17 17 18 19 19 19 20 20 20 21 22 22 23
Appendix 1: English version of the general household survey List of figures, table and boxes Figure 1: conceptual model Table 1: Perceived importance of different items for well-being (1-10) and the percentage of households owning these items Table 2: % of household’s items actual and desired items of expenditure Table 3: % of households in Sri Than owning certain assets Graph 1: Regression line illustrating the correlation of age (x-axis) and importance of luxury consumption (y-axis) Box 1: satisfaction and debts
8 15 17 17 18 18
We know how happy a man is by counting his material goods such as car. p. not only the playing technique may be producing a different sound. I was inspired by a discrepancy between attitude towards material wealth in the research of Jongudomkarn and Camfield on the quality of life in Thailand. instead of focusing on actual consumption patterns. money. Anthropologist Clifford Geertz describes religion as a cultural pattern which is providing a ‘guideline for social and psychological processes which shape public behavior’(Geertz. As a consequence. easy to count and to compare. gold. Consumption choices are the result of a decision making process which is informed by these ethics. In opposition. 1966. 2005). made during a research on the quality of life in this area: ‘A happy man is a wealthy man. a different playing technique may make the instrument sound differently and improve its contribution to the full sound of the orchestra of dimensions of wellbeing. At first. Sarah White criticizes this tendency since the perceptions of the 1 . That doesn’t have to say that the economic dimension is most important for somebody’s wellbeing. I thus want to zoom in on those motives that have been influenced by Thai Theravada Buddhism.INTRODUCTION Theorists on wellbeing have been dealing with the economic dimension like children do with their desired musical instrument. The fact that people are very aware of their economic situation makes it worth taking a closer look behind the scenes. while the satisfaction with one's situation can be imagined at the initial and final states. Thus. Apart from linking happiness with wealth people would also describe the ideal person as someone who is unselfish and not materialistic (Jongudomkarn & Camfield. I laid the emphasis on the decision making process whereby certain ideals and motives lead to certain consumption choices. they began realize that income and consumption could be complemented with other dimensions to reach a fuller sound. This process is a continuum between various desires and the way they are either discarded or put into action. Returning to the metaphor of the music instrument. It is the spacial acoustics that contribute to the sound. Material aspects are what people refer to in the first place when it comes to the assessment of their wellbeing. rather than discarding the economic. not to speak of the psychological dimension. ideals and goals. defined as a combination of individual and collective ethics. In the Thai cultural context the sound waves are reflected by the architecture of Theravada Buddhism. 20). Thus. Some even proved that income had barely any impact on overall wellbeing . After a while. are translated into specific consumption choices. This research is thus focused on the decision making process in which motives transform into concrete choices. totally being fixated on the economic aspects of wellbeing they missed to look around and see the other domains of life. In that case theory would fall short of the reality of peoples lives where income and consumption are often perceived as important contributors to wellbeing. tangible.’ (Jongudomkarn & Camfield. The concept of multidimensional poverty arose and gradually the economic dimension palled. a bias towards quantitative methods to asses subjective wellbeing can be noticed. I wanted to find out about the process by which motives. the way in which people come to spend their income may not. In wellbeing research practice. The reason for this tendency is quite obvious: Material wealth is visible. Embedding these processes into the context of subjective wellbeing. ideals and goals. the factors that one finds important for wellbeing play a role during that process. Approaching my findings from this perspective I aim to contribute to a better understanding of the workings of religion in the consumption choices of Isan urban middle class. and jewelery. p.6). Even if income may have a relatively low significance on its own. however. This is for example reflected in a statement of a 59 year old widow from Isan (northeastern Thailand).where the other dimensions drowning the sound of the economic? The starting point for this research on wellbeing in North Eastern Thailand is the idea that the musical instrument of the now grown up child should not be thrown into the corner. family relations are a bit more complicated to observe.
The research questions resulting from these considerations shall be presented.). For this purpose. In Chapter 3. Therefore. the former have mainly provided a general overview while the latter have yielded the crucial information needed to answer the research questions. 2009. Assuming that most people are part of a household. I will go into the research methodology that was applied in order to get the information needed to answer the research questions.individual get lost in the process of the analysis of the answers people give (White. theories on well-being. I choose for a research population where alternatives to make choices about consumption pattern were relatively available and relevant. The set up of this thesis will be as followed: In chapter 2. This conclusion will summarize the main findings and discuss them in the light of the theoretical framework. As a next step. 2 . followed by a conclusion in Chapter 6. considerations about the research process and implications of the research will be presented. As a final comment. the results of the research shall be pinpointed. the theoretical framework for this study will be sketched. the national context of Thai Buddhism and societal structure and the regional and local context of the research location will be introduced. So as to compare the motives with the actual choices made. in order to do justice to the individual as a subject (ibid. In this. p. consumption choices and decision making will be discussed. I payed attention to the individual as part of a household with the emphasis remaining on the individual.10). in this research. At this. this region seemed to be the right place to be looking for the answers. chapter 4 shall present the context in which the research has taken place. within which incomes may be pooled and most purchases made collectively. Therefore I conducted the research in a community with average wealth level in urban Khon Kaen. together with an analytical framework that would make these questions operational for the research. In Chapter 5. She further elaborates that approaches to wellbeing should be person-centered. quantitative methods have been complemented by qualitative methods. as well as on ethics and ideals. As these questions have arisen from a research in North-Eastern Thailand.
The conception of well-being put forward by the WeD research group combines ‘the ‘objective’ circumstances of a person and the ‘subjective’ perception on their condition (McGregor. The evaluation of what is best. a third concept that is central to Sen's approach is freedoms. p. This view can also be found with White. Many ideas of the WeD framework can be brought into relation with Sen's capability approach that envisions living as a combination of various 'doings and beings'. To make the notion of well-being more comprehensive. 1993). For the purpose of giving an insight into thoughts on well-being that are of relevance for this research. p. thinking and feeling as the meanings that guide them. These may range from basic physical needs. what is a valuable state of being. THEORY. I will refer to Amartya Sen.2. interpreted as satisfaction with the achievement of personally important goals in one's life' (WeD. Well-being is one of the central issues in theoretical debates on development. In accordance with this statement.3)’. I shall also illuminate the ideas of McGregor and White. The concept emerged as the antipole of poverty. Sen argues that ‘a person’s ability to do valuable acts or reach valuable states of being’ are essential for the quality of life (in Nussbaum & Sen. Instead these perceptions are seen as constituted in culture and ideology which in turn structure the material. and doing as the activities they undertake by applying those resources (McGregor. social and personal through a cascade of associations that makes them meaningful and designates some as pressing ' (White. who write in line with the 'Well-Being in Developing Countries' (WeD) framework. the WeD framework identifies three modes of being in which well-being plays. I will differentiate between the importance people attach to certain conditions for well-being and the satisfaction with the current state of implementation of these conditions. and where one enjoys a satisfactory quality of life' (WeD.1 Well-being 'Well-being is a state of being with others. to more complex aspects. various theories and definitions on wellbeing have been published. individual preferences and ambitions. one makes choices to come to specific functionings by evaluating one’s objectives (Sen in Nussbaum & Sen. It is not only the objectively measurable and tangible states of being but also the subjective evaluation of these circumstances that make up the well-being of a person. is guided by the culturally and socially constructed meanings. 1993. Capabilities are the possible combinations of functionings that can a person can achieve. p. 3 . Within the last two decades.6). Having can be understood as the resources people have. freedom is a precondition for agency. The value that is given to various functionings depends on the context of the individual.4). such as being adequately nourished. 2007. 'thinking/feeling' and 'doing'.1).1 Theoretical framework 2. To be more specific. where human needs are met. RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK 2.2). In this. Therefore. 2007. providing a more positive and concrete goal to debates on poverty alleviation. p. however. writing on subjective well-being: ‘The subjective is thus more than a random selection of individual perceptions or preferences. p. This framework is created by the ERSC research group of the University of Bath and advocates a multidisciplinary approach to the understanding of well-being. Out of the capabilities that someone has.1. 2006. where one can act meaningfully to pursue one’s goals. but as an actor. such as social status. 2009. 2006. functionings are the 'beings and doings' a person has achieved. trying to make the best out of the choices he or she has. who has been a leading figure in the theoretical discussions on well-being. Sen thus reminds us not to see the individual as passive contemplator on his or her situation. that allow an actor to make choices with different options being provided. p. Of course. namely 'having'.30). the WeD framework also points out to the 'cognitive aspect of subjective wellbeing. There is thus an emphasis the agency of the individual to come to specific sets of functionings.
4 . Besides. It needs to be noted that the social dimension does not stand on its own.. 2008).The social context not only plays a major role in creating. Basic needs have to be covered to be able to sustain what is perceived to be a decent livelihood which enables one to fulfill context specific requirements for human dignity. Before that. a difference has to be made between consumption that is aimed at fulfilling basic needs and consumption that goes beyond that purpose. 2009). Consumption is also used as an instrument to achieve and maintain a social position in comparison with others (ibid. In this line. suggests that the contribution of economic factors to the ‘happiness’ of a person get less important when a basic level of income is reached while the importance of social factors increases from that stage on (Warr. 287). The ability to act along with cultural codes and social expectations via consumption patterns has an impact on well-being. p. for example. Therefore. conveying and transforming these meanings. the symbolic is always part of the material (1997. The relation between consumption and well-being can therefore not only be understood as a calculation of needs being fulfilled by absolute or relative consumption. I shall elaborate on some theoretical considerations on decision making in general. 2. Warr. as well as gifts to family members and friends or donations. social interaction and hedonism as local meanings of consumption. I will go into the material aspect by discussing some theories on consumption. identifying criteria that separate basic needs from desires asks for the specific context. That can be the purchase of material goods. 4). 2006.2 Consumption choices The second notion that has to be defined is consumption. The way a person is embedded in social relations also influences his or her evaluation of objectives since they have to be brought in line with collective goals (Mc Gregor. 1976). p. Through certain actions and consumption patterns people construct their identity and present themselves in certain ways (ibid. as well.23). the definition of what is basic and what is not. This would mean that the choice for a certain product is always related to a meaning the consumer gives to that product.1. it is possible that the subjective well-being of a person is impaired if he or she can not make consumption choices which are socially desirable. 537).238). harmonious and close social relationships. The way people spend their money has social and symbolic motivations. I want to look at consumption as tool to come to what an individual perceives to be well-being. is based on the same concepts that have been illuminated above and depends on objective and subjective factors. 287). as well as public and social respect contribute to the well-being of a person (White. social factors do not only have an influence on the perception of well-being. Instead of being driven by simple human needs. However. It interacts with the material and human dimension and the three spheres jointly constitute the well-being of a person (White. p. According to Elliott. Monica Guillen-Royo presented a research on consumption and subjective well-being in Peru whereby she payed attention to the motives people have to adopt certain consumption patterns (Guillen-Royo. 2009. Later in this chapter. As Fromm pointed out. Generally. but also of services and participation in certain activities. In the following paragraph. the realm of the symbolic comes into play as soon as a product's ability to satisfy mere physical needs is transcended (Fromm. Guillen-Royo identifies the satisfaction of basic needs and household basics. I will therefore expound the role of the weltanschauung as part of the underlying factors that lead to specific consumption choices and patterns. 1997. Consumption can thus not only be seen in economic and utilitarian terms. In this research. the demand for particular consumptions is often culturally induced (Elliott.. p. social comparison.12). The meanings and motives of consumption are subjective and often even subconscious. p. As White points out. By consumption I mean all actions that require the spending of a part of the income and assets of a household. but are also determinants for the state of being.
a business-woman and the community leader at the same time.216). p. p. ethnicity. A person and his or her household are embedded in structures like the cultural.170). Not only conflicting desires make a choice for action problematic. 1988. Many. Aim of the narrative is to integrate these actions and life choices into a coherent biography (Atkins and Mackenzi. choices out of different narrative paths that could be followed and even out of different identities have to be made. situationally varying factors come together and channel this decision making process. At the same time it has to be logical to oneself as it forms one’s identity (Mackenzi. religion. infrastructural and economic situation. That religion can play a fundamental role in this is reflected in the statement of Baker. The justification of one’s actions through the motives and their underlying values have to be understandable as we strive for motivational integrity (in Atkins& Mackenzi. p. We are ceaselessly alert to the danger that there may be discrepancies between what we wish to be (or what we wish to seem to be) and how we actually appear to others and to ourselves (Frankfurt. We care about what we are.262).1.220).2.).16). It is the way that synthesizes the total personality and provides energizing direction and order (Baker.51). that unifies all of life.). I focused on the decision making process as it is perceived by the individual. Additionally. social. These identities have to be brought together in a relatively coherent overarching self-narrative (ibid. there may be conflicting desires but we just have one body to act (in Atkins & Mackenzi. One may be a mother. 5 . Kennett and Matthews also shed light on the way an individual is continuously confronted with different. 2008). A narrative has social and moral dimensions.3 Decision making and narrative Motives to act in certain ways develop within the space between ideals and the act itself. that ‘[s]pirituality is the connecting force or integrating power. It can be seen as the way an individual perceives and represents his or her identity and the way this identity is reflected in the actions he or she takes. As it is impossible to cover all these aspects within this research. As Kosegaard puts it. 2003. While getting an overview of the circumstances of the household the individual is part of through the survey. 15. I will further go into the functions of religion. That does not mean that a person can not have multiple identities. In an article on normative agency. the co-authors bring up the idea of unified agency. p. ‘The nature and value of one's agency consists in an individuals capacity to unify parts of herself over time by acting on normative reasons ' (ibid. the individual occupies a certain position that leads to certain attitudes and actions. Within these external structures. It is formed within the socio-cultural context of a person and needs to be understandable for others. p. sometimes even conflicting desires out of which she has to make choices for his or her actions (in Atkins and Mackenzi. This logic is not only based on the way the storyline develops but also on the motives that lead to this development. various forms of capital at hand are influencing the decision making process.’In the paragraph below. The various dimensions that contribute to well-being mentioned in the first section of this chapter can be detected in the narrative theories as well.163). political. individual characteristics like educational level. A concept that lends itself for the analyses of this decision making process from the position of the individual is the 'narrative'. In the citation above. On a higher level. gender. p. p. the qualitative part of the research was devoted to the motives of the individual informants to make certain choices. Multiple identities are not always exclusive but can coexist along each other (Buitelaar. 219.
in which he criticizes the avoidance of the topic of spirituality in development theory and practice. 194). 4). that is communicated through religion (ibid. I will especially look at those aspects of morality. Viewed from that perspective. The term covers religious beliefs and ethics. Ver Beek published an article in Development and Practice. Order can be attained from the “world view” that is conveyed by religion while meaning can be derived from the norms and values. and to organize themselves to act on these. its sociological and psychological ones (Geertz. seek to better understand it. Geertz’s theory seems to be suitable for the Thai context as Thai Buddhism is strongly interwoven with everyday life. these aspects should be addressed more openly and included in the considerations made about development strategies and programs.From these cultural functions flow. 1975. Geertz suggests that religion is a cultural system which helps to make sense of our perceptions by providing order and meaning (1958. According to Kirsch Thai Buddhism plays a formative role for the individual weltanschauung. interprets and judges 'reality'. In this research. 31). 2008. and give people the opportunity to decide how both their development and their spirituality should shape each other (Ver Beek. It seems to be logical that Ver Beek emphasizes the importance to pay more attention to the topic of spirituality in development theory and practice: . that are derived from Thai Buddhism. morality and codes of conduct. The concept of weltanschauung covers a wide range of aspects contributing to the perspective from which somebody looks at. p.. p. Furthermore. religion – as a cultural pattern . According to the Anthropologist Clifford Geertz. …the importance of religion lies in the capacity to serve. norms and values as well as morality. 1966.6). as source of general. aspirations and activities..). Due to the centrality of religion and spirituality in peoples lives. I want to take this advise and contribute to the better understanding of the workings of religion in the decision making process considering the way people spend their income. In contrast to the consensus among development theorists on the integration of factors like gender. in turn. address it openly. religion and spirituality are mostly left aside (Ver Beek. 2000. p. the self. then researchers and practitioners must recognize the importance of spirituality in peoples lives. and the relations between them…. the I want to link these insights with the concept of well-being.if development is truly about strengthening peoples capacity to determine their own1 values and priorities. indigenous knowledge and social structure for the design of effective aid. 421. Sarah White (2008) mentions the importance to acknowledge the moral dimension within the material. 422).can be seen as providing a ‘guideline for social and psychological processes which shape public behavior’(Geertz.4 Religious beliefs and ethics In 2000. In her conceptualization of well-being. subjective.1. as well as for the structure of Thai society as a whole (Kirsch in Skinner & Kirsch. for an individual or for a group. 41). values and attitudes suggested within a religious context are transferred into nonreligious contexts (1966). and relational facets of well-being (White. I take religious beliefs and ethics as the most basic factors of a weltanschauung as religion widely informs norms and values. yet distinctive conceptions of the world. 1 emphasis in the original version 6 . p. the “ethos”. p.2. 1966.40). Codes of conduct the translation of ideals into the social realm.
.1 The main concepts Well-being The present well-being of a person is the state of being that is constituted by a combination of the three modes of ‘having’. How is a possible dissonance between religious ethics and consumption choices handled by. Consumption All actions that require the spending of a part of the income and assets of a household... or desires. The motive that someone uses to account for certain actions are a way to reach this coherence. 2.. important concepts will be shortly defined below. as well as gifts to family members and friends or donations.... Religious ethics 7 . The conceptual model will illustrate the relations between these concepts..2..3 Analytical framework and operationalization To make the theory operational. What is the effect of consumption choices on subjective well-being of. This state of being is not well-being itself but a well-being position on the continuum from poverty to well-being. but also of services and participation in certain activities. which is also context specific. How does the conception of well-being influence the consumption choices of. ‘doing’ and ‘feeling’.. Here.. How are Thai Buddhist ethics reflected in the consumption choices of. Narrative A narrative is the way a person perceives and represents his or her identity and that explains the actions and life choices he or she takes. Which concepts of Thai Buddhism are constitutive for the weltanschauung of. a general research question can be formulated: How does the sub-urban middle class of north eastern Thailand join idealistic and materialistic aspects of well-being in their consumption choices? In order to give answer to that question.the sub-urban middle class of north-eastern Thailand? 2....3. 5. Which are the main factors that are perceived to contribute to well-being for..2 Research questions Out of the theoretical considerations above.. . 3. Aim of a narrative is to integrate these actions and choices into a coherent and logical biography. 4. with well-being representing the most optimal state of being. That can be the purchase of material goods. 7. a difference should be made between basic needs and additional needs. whereby the subjective van be split into importance and satisfaction. 2. Objective and subjective subjective factors equally contribute to that state of being. 6. the following sub-questions need to be clarified in reference to the sub-urban middle class of north-eastern Thailand: 1. The definition of basic needs depends of the individual context and their fulfillment enables a decent livelihood and human dignity. What are the basic values of Thai Buddhist ethics for.
Context Social. cultural. Mostly a household is settled in the same house or set of houses. However. mostly connected through kinship ties. 2. it is also possible that household members live some place else. for example students or migrants. economic.2 Conceptual model well-being (importance) Decision making In line with? Consumption choices well-being (satisfaction) Buddhist ethics In line with? Individual Household community 8 . that are pooling resources and sharing them. Household Entity of social organization: people.Codes of conduct and attitudes that are informed by religious concepts. political. infrastructural.3. geographical circumstances.
the data could be arranged to be easily interpreted. including a limited number of data at the individual level. a general household survey was conducted. including the relevant 2 See attachments for the topic list 9 . 3. During an interview with two elders of the community. ethics and well-being. as the scope of the community was rather small. this general information has been used to identify the topics that had to be delved into more closely and the informants that could provide the information necessary. some members of the community board. Key informants were the community leader. that there was a bias towards 'having'. it must be admitted. the survey was meant to get insight in data on the household level. a group of male and a group of female community members were approached to hold a focus group discussion. This approach worked surprisingly well. Due to the lack of existing data sources on the community.1. income sources. METHODOLOGY 3. for example could be indicated from daily to yearly income. a community profile was made in the beginning of the research.3. a community health volunteer. With the help of this program. social and political realm that were of interest for the assessment of well-being of the households2. 3. In the initial phase where general information was collected. By getting insight in these dimensions a better understanding. Also. The attention was hereby directed to the aspects of 'having'. As for the PA methods. Relevant data from the questionnaire were on basic household characteristics. the survey was analyzed statistically with SPSS. a transect walk was done to get an impression of the scope of the community. Furthermore. Approaching different inhabitants. a teacher. analysis and interpretation of the data from the surveys and in-depth interviews was to be reached. She was able to name only few so we were left to ask people on the streets about neighbors who were likely to know about certain issues. In the second phase. socio-cultural. assisted by two interpreters. Results could be presented in tables and diagrams. 'doing'. To get more detailed information in-depth interviews were held in the course of the case studies.1 Methods of data collection To access the data necessary to give answer to the research question. for example by frequency tables or bar charts. 'thinking' related to well-being. a historical time line was drawn. the information was gathered through semi-structured interviews with key informants and PA methods by a group of three dutch students. The sampling of the key informants was done in a quite informal. While the community profile should provide information at the community level. the housing and resources. which was conducted by local students. namely consumption. and some elders. various research methods were used. After a first meeting with the community leader we asked her for experts on different topics.1. comprised a range of questions on the economic. consumption.2 Surveys The survey. Moreover I wanted to identify the respondents that valued luxury consumption and/or religion. as this dimension was most easily operationalized. A comprehensive variable with all income periods calculated into yearly income had to be constructed. However. demographic and infra-structural situation. and perception of well being. When it comes to the analysis of the data. the master monk of Jom Sri temple. a resource map was gradually completed. assets. snowball like way.1 Community profile Aim of the community profiles was to get background knowledge about life in Sri Than 4. To get more information about gender roles and conceptions. For an overview of Sri Than 4. concerning the geographical. Some of the variables had to be modified in order to make them comparable. different relations between the findings could be traced by regression analysis. For this purpose I constructed a luxury consumption scale as well as a religion scale. it was of importance to tackle the three main topics. Income.
Almost all of the respondents of the sample frame were employed or had their own business. Sampling the research population I planned to sample the informants out of the household survey. For the sample. the subjective well-being of the informant and his or her perception of the well-being of the household should be illuminated by the interviews as well as the importance people give to Buddhism and the implication of the ethics that go along with it. I narrowed this selection in order to identify those respondents who would also give importance to religion. 'having a personal computer'. and 7 people younger than 35. Religion scale: Cronbach's Alpha 0. I choose for this selection criterion because I was interested in the way people match their consumption choices with their ideals. A Cronbach's Alpha higher than 0. The reason for this was the fact that the potential informants were all working during the day except for the older informants. I selected the respondents who scored an eight or higher on the consumption scale or who had mentioned luxurious goods as one of the four most important ways to spend money (retrieved from form G4 and G5). I wanted to get in contact with those respondents who showed relatively high scores on religion and consumption. Aside from that. religion and decision making. I did this by selecting the respondents who at least scored eight out of ten on the religion scale or who had mentioned religious spending as one of the four most important ways to spend money (retrieved from form G4 and G5). having interviewed seven women and only three men. Because of my lacking knowledge of the Thai language I had to work with interpreters.1. The level of education in the sample frame ranged from primary school drop-outs to university graduates. These questions were of a qualitative nature and therefore they were approached through in-depth interviews. The in-depth interviews took about 50 to 90 minutes. In order to avoid an age bias I decided to approach three informants who had not taken part in the survey. The luxury consumption scale includes 'having a job/income'. In these personal interviews. Moreover. I hoped to find out more about the different factors that contribute to the way people make and look at their consumption choices.76. Among respondents who both valued religion and consumption I expected the greatest dissonance between values and consumption choices and therefore hoped to get insight in the underlying motivations and goals. 'having a mobile phone'. In practice. 3. Within the guidelines there was room left to react to the personality of the informant and the atmosphere during the conversation. ''having a lot of money'. household economics. However.3 Case studies In the fourth week of the project. This was not unproblematic 3 Consumption scale: Cronbach's Alpha 0. however. I could not escape a gender bias. Set up of the in-depth interviews The semi-structured in-depth interviews were guided by four main topics with some questions and possible follow-up questions that needed to be treated during the interview.items3 from the series of questions on the perception of well-being. The religion scale comprises 'personal prayer/meditation'. Out of this frame I sampled 14 informants out of which 10 should be interviewed. the level of satisfaction with these choices was to be explored. I had to approach all households of the sample frame. 5 people between 35 and 50. These topics were: well-being. 'owning a car'. and 'fun shopping'. Furthermore I constructed two new variables to identify the respondents who had named luxury goods or religious spending as their main or desired spendings.75 is indicating the internal consistency of the scale 10 . The final sample frame included 20 households in Sri Than 4 with 8 people above the age of 50. 'giving food and other donations to the monks' and 'attending ceremonies'.75. 'going to the temple'. the questions that remained unanswered by the survey and the community profiles were tackled.
Pituk is a 48 year old school teacher. She is still living with her parents. she sells plants and trees and flowers together with her husband. The son has already moved out She owns a restaurant at the main road where the interview took place. Another interviewee. Furthermore. 8 and 4. Besides that. working at the nearby hospital. His children have already founded their own families. Another interview was conducted with Nang. An interview was also held with Tong Mai. where the family usually sleeps at night. who is studying management at Khon Kaen University. In that way. Furthermore. 3. Analysis The analysis of the information from the in-depth interviews was done in a iterative way. a 60 year old woman. The interview was taken in front of her quite luxurious new house. Sawat. the interviewees that were approached for the in-depth interviews are shortly introduced. living in a relatively good appointed house with her husband and two children. interviews were compared and labels were given to the interview summaries. Finally.as direct communication with the interviewee was impossible. the interpreters had to summarize the answers and make choices about the English phrases. living with her sister and mother in a average size house who is working in a hotel in the center of Khon Kaen. Together with his wife and children he lives in a relatively big. 4 pseudonym 11 . I held an interview with Payun. As a sideline income activity. She is a divorced mother of 3 children at the age of 10. I asked them to translate as literally as possible and also draw my attention to non verbal communication of the informants. a 29 year old trainee at the school of cosmetics. well appointed house. The two are living in a house with some of her children and grandchildren. Nantawan. lives in a brick and wooden house together with her husband and her teenage daughter. Nuk4 is a 45 year old man living in a relatively poorly appointed two-room wooden house with his family. has a paralyzed husband. gradually a model developed in which the central concepts were identified and structured. Again. the way I put my questions had to be understood correctly by an interpreter lacking a social science background. a 45 year old single woman. Additionally I would ask the interpreter for a general evaluation of the credibility of the answers given during an interview. Her age mate. He lives in the back of the store together with his wife. a 24 year old woman. This is done to give an impression of the type of persons who provided a vital part of the information presented in the results. Kumpun is a 54 year old return migrant who had been working in Libya and Saudi-Arabia is now owning a grocery store at the main road. an interview was held with Sommai. She is a 42 year old woman.2 The interviewees In this paragraph. The interview was taken in front of the house on some mattresses. This started with the daily evaluation and adjustment of the interview guide in order to get closer to the information needed to answer the research questions. I briefed the interpreters about my research questions and the goals of the interviews. Opposite to the beauty salon. His neighbor. Tong Mai is working at. her grandmother and sister in a relatively well furnished brick and wooden house. lies the grocery store of Kunsee. After the conduction of ten in-depth interviews. a 46 year old woman. To smoothen the communication as well as possible.
Nevertheless. As Kirsch suggests. 4.1. As Mulder put it. Theravada Buddhism. 1975. 180). the formal goal of Buddhism has often been characterized as otherworldly… Nirvana. 4. Therefore most Thai Buddhists strive for intermediate goals that are more likely to be reached. Merit making is not just one out of many practices in Thai Buddhism.181).1 Multiple rebirth and karma ‘Nirvana.179). it is in the hands of the individual whether he or she will go forward or backward. 177). ensuring safety and auspiciousness in the present life (Mulder. the concept of sufficiency economy. much less achieve’ (Kirsch in Skinner & Kirsch. p. p. 180). The path towards deliverance from this world is characterized by cycle of rebirths. is very abstract and distant and difficult for anyone to aspire to. The individual 12 . a context has to be sketched within which the research has been conducted. 95 percent of the Thai call themselves Buddhist.38)’. 274)’. 38). The background information that will be presented in this chapter is essential to be able to make sense of the data gathered during the research. p. I will recognize this denomination and from now on refer to this religious and spiritual topics as Thai Buddhism. Hinduism. Popular merit making practices are aimed at short term rewards. Not only human beings are perceived to be in this ‘sacred hierarchy’. The concept of merit is the intersection of various elements of the Buddhist belief system (Kirsch in Skinner & Kirsch. demons. p.The groundwork for one’s destiny have been laid by the merits and demerits accumulated in one’s previous life (Kirsch in Skinner & Kirsch. Animism and other influences come together in Thai popular religious belief and practice. p.. Popular merit making is especially acted out in institutionalized Buddhist rituals. The doctrines of karma and multiple rebirth stand in the center of these aspirations (ibid. Although in the literature it is generally referred to as syncretism. an investigation of Buddhist values and beliefs can broaden our understanding of the general patterns in Thai society (in Skinner & Kirsch. p.. p. 180). but all animated life including animals. Here the doctrine of karma comes into play which suggests that every action ‘has some measure of religious reward or punishment attached to it (in Skinner & Kirsch.1. 1978. [shortly defined as the escape from this world]. 183). p. Thai Buddhism A differentiation must be made between the official Buddhist institutions and doctrines and Thai popular religion as it is practiced in every day life. 1898. p.. who wrote about Thai Buddhist practices in the nineteenth century identified merit making rituals as the ‘sum and substance of [Thai] religious faith and practice (Young. p.4. THE REASERACH LOCATION AND IT’S NATIONAL CONTEXT Before turning to the results of the research. and various levels of Thai societal structure. This is why I will set out to delineate Theravada Buddhism first before turning to Thai social order and interaction. On the way to salvation. The lives are stages on the way to Nirvana. p. 1975. The other way round.180)’. spirits and gods (ibid. whereby one strives to reach a higher level in the next life and come closer to Nirvana as a consequence (ibid.38). 1957. The ideas of karma and merit making have important implications on the way Thai Buddhists look at their socio-economic position and the foreseen and unforeseen course of their lives. In order to understand the concept of karma. p. ‘salvation is not a gift but a task (1978. I will elaborate on Thai Buddhism. Young. In this I will concretize my descriptions by referring to the context of the research location. 1975. while the former notion of merit making is more related to the implementation of morality in daily life (Mulder 1978. one has to understand Thai Buddhist ideas about merit making. Merit making is the tool to improve one’s karma by ‘doing good’ and is practiced with the hope that a good karma leads to rebirth into a higher level of the ‘sacred hierarchy’. ‘bad’ acts will lead to an deterioration of one’s karma which could result in rebirth at a lower level of the ‘sacred hierarchy’. there are still ways to give influence the course of one’s present life.
Naang Kwak (literally: 'Lady Come') is described as a sort of goddess or angel that is believed to bring economic success and wealth. the year of the Asian economic crises that hit Thailand’s economy badly after a long period of economic boom (Warr. independent and inherent entity (Warr. As the statement of the master monk of Jom Sri temple in Sri Than shows. Kirsch even states that otherworldly focus of Buddhism generally discourages attempts at economic achievement (in Skinner & Kirsch. However. 2007). Furthermore. Furthermore. 2007). He stands for wealth and prosperity. brought forward by king Bhumipol (Warr. 177). They spend their money on luxury goods because they want to have the same as people around them but are left with nothing in the end. 1975. The sufficiency economy ideology is informed by Buddhist ideals of wisdom and compassion whereby the individual is pictured as an integral part of the universe and therefore inextricably linked with nature and all other beings (Warr.1. It was first mentioned in his annual speeches in the 1970s but put central to his speech in 1997. 2007). These central conception of the Buddhist doctrine stand in opposition to the actual practice where Thai Buddhism recognizes the wish and need of people for a good financial situation. The ‘middle way’ ideology is applicable to every situation in life. which is tied to the principle of sufficiency (Prayukvong.d) The perception that happiness can be derived from material wealth results in greed. 2007). wisdom and compassion are the characteristics that should be aspired (Warr.2 Sufficiency economy Sufficiency economy is a concept. the Buddhist notion of ignorance is a result of the misconception of the self as an isolated. People pay respect to her. Coming forward with the concept 13 . When asked. During the boom. In Buddhist terms. the crises can be interpreted as the result of the destructive effects of greed and ignorance (Warr.is seen as responsible for his or her present life situation and the shape his or her life will take in the future. offer flowers and sweet drinks so that she will attract prosperity. According to Buddhist notions. Thai Buddhists are considered about avoiding extremes. n. In the next paragraph I shall further explain this ideology. If people want better things for themselves it has to go in line with self-sufficiency because they should not cause any harm to anyone (Master Monk of Jom Sri temple in Sri Than). Shedding light on these seemingly contradictory approaches to material wealth within Thai Buddhism raises the question as to how practitioners make sense of these contradictions. Referring back to the teachings of Buddha. the informants would assure the positive effects of this practices. a differentiation can be made between the materialistic desire that is is aimed to be satisfied through the maximization of consumption. In Sri Than 4. hatred and ignorance are central to the Buddhist world view (Warr.d.d). Business men and women among the interviewees would have a statue in their shops so as to attract clients. Jom Sri temple of Sri Than has a enormous statue of a sitting Buddha with a big belly. Again. too. Thoughts about suffering as a result of greed. two very obvious believes concerned with this topic could be found. People just want more and more and can not control themselves. which in turn spark anger. Her statue can be seen in most of the shops and houses. in Buddhist notions. n.) Warr explains.). and people come to pray and pay respect in front of the statue in the hope of his assistance on the economic realm. Sufficiency is also the guideline of the economic philosophy introduced by the present King of Thailand. and the desire for quality of life. luxury consumption is generally not highly valued but accepted if it happens under the condition of self-sufficiency.d. 4. 2005. the idea of the ‘middle way’ is widely applied. n. also when it comes to the importance of material wealth. In Thai Buddhism.2 Thai Buddhist attitudes towards material wealth Luxury consumption does not go along with the teachings of Buddhism. n. p. that these three ‘poisons’ result in the ‘endless vicious circle of frustrated pursuit of happiness from material things’ (Warr. 2007). 1174). a mentality of extensive risk taking for long term economic gain had developed in Thailand (Warr. the aspirations of greater wealth that stem from this perception lead to frustration. 4.
a university was established there. socially or politically through personal characteristics such as diligence. ‘resilience’. Ideas on social structure and social mobility seem to reflect religious notions as similar principles can be found in the workings of karma and merit (Kirsch. However. Inner dynamic points out to the importance to be concerned about the protection of others. All this was meant to diversify the income opportunities.1 The North East (Isan) Isan is the name for the north-eastern region of Thailand.). such as education. 4. 4. In addition. These efforts however. Religion and King' are perceived to be the three pillars of Thai society as suggested by King Vajiravudh in the beginning of the twentieth century (Cohen 1991. p. communal and national level. or economically. away from pure agricultural activities. King Bhumipol tried to restore a mentality of sufficiency and constraint as a method to cope with the crises on an individual. the ‘knowledge’ term draws our attention to the importance of nonmaterial aspects of life.at the beginning of an economically disastrous period for Thailand. through the accumulation of merit. Finally. namely ‘moderation’. The Isan is economically dependent on the center and a lot of outward migration taking place which results in a 'brain drain' that especially extracts the young and highly educated Isan. the king did not denunciate economic growth in general.4. He or she can move between positions through achievement. not only geographically. according to the Buddhist world view. There is a strong social hierarchy that assigns clear rights and obligations to a person occupying a certain position within that hierarchy. arts and spirituality. 1991). The region is historically perceived as lying at the periphery of the country. ‘self-reliance’. which has grown to be one of the largest campuses of Thailand. the individual is not bound to a certain position within that hierarchy (ibid. 4. 2007).2 Sri Than 4 Sri Than 4 is a urban community that is part of Khon Kaen municipality.4 The research location 4. emphasized the differences between the north-east and the 'rest' and created a consciousness of separate regional identity (ibid. p. p. Erik Cohen identifies a horizontal and a vertical dimension of Thai social order (1991. 27-30 & 37-39). can lead to the Buddhist concept of suffering. In this paragraph I will not further dwell on the Thai monarchy or the Thai nationality but on the structure of Thai social order. The former village 14 . as well as for the inhabitants of that region. ‘inner dynamic’ and ‘knowledge’.). king Bhumipol identifies five major themes of the philosophy.3 Thai societal structure Two essential elements that shape Thai society have already been mentioned: Buddhism and Monarchy. There have been various efforts to incorporate the region more closely into Thai society and economy (Cohen. However. This achievement can be reached spiritually. but also economically and socially. In this.4. Resilience asks for the avoidance of excessive risk during these aspirations. Khon Kaen has been made the economic center of the Isan region in the course of the attempts of the government to better integrate and develop the region (Cohen). the priority of individuals and policy makers has to be the fulfillment of basic needs for the majority before higher levels of economic growth can be aspired. who are. the king also chooses the middle way by making Buddhist ideology match with the everyday life of Thai citizens as well as the workings of the markets in which the Thai economy is embedded. The concept of moderation can be defined by a call to ‘sensible material aspirations’(Warr. 11). more important matters. He rather argued that an excessive emphasis economic growth or material wealth at the expense of other. The concept of self-reliance postulates economic independence and can be translated to the individual and the national level. linked with us. In his major speech on Sufficiency Economy. 181). who make up one third of the population of Thailand. In this line. Social rigidity and individual freedom can be combined in that way. as well. 'Nation.
Secondly.1 Family relations. a street restaurant. The change in economic activities has brought about increasing wealth among the households. consumption and Buddhist ethics in Sri Than 4 In the following chapter. First I will go into the factors that have shown to be important for the well-being among inhabitants in Sri Than 4.55 11 being able to vote 8.55 2 having good relations with your family 9.45 21 owning a car 7. health and education The general survey has revealed trends about the importance that 15 . To get a complete picture of the well-being situation in Sri Than 4. the material assets and other purchases will be described.18 14 having a partner 8. In the chapter that follows.22 25 having free time 7 26 owning a mobile phone 6. RESULTS: Well-being. assets and consumption.8 13 giving food and other donations to monks 8.52 20 having the freedom to express your political opinion 7. this time in the light of Buddhist ethics and well-being. In the course of Thai decentralization politics of the administrative entities.18 15 having a TV 8.53 3 having children educated at high school / university 9.79 28 owning a motorcycle 6.44 4 being safe 9. In the final section.44 12 owning land 8.1 Well-being and consumption in Sri Than 4 In this section I will set out to describe the main aspects of well-being that came to the surface during the survey and the in-depth interviews.5 16 having children 8.of Sri Than has gradually become part of the expanding city of Khon Kaen. regarding well-being. Most adults are now employed in and around Khon Kaen which is also an effect of the increasing educational level as various types of schools lie within reach.18 7 being healthy 9.61 19 going to the temple 7.68 92.3 29 having a personal computer 5. In order to understand how inhabitants of Sri Than 4 come to their specific consumption choices.35 5 having a decent home 9. Sri Than 4 is now a typical suburban community with approximately 700 inhabitants living in 150 households. some characteristics of the households in Sri Than 4 will be described. important concepts of Thai Buddhist ethics will be illuminated in third section.32 23 attending ceremonies 7. 5.86 97 27 engaging in politics 6. These are statements about the importance of certain dimensions of well-being. Khon Kaen had been divided into two. The section will be structured by a ranking that has revealed the different level of importance of different topics for the well-being of the inhabitants of Sri Than 4 (Table 1). consumption choices will be taken up. later into four separate communities. many households have a sideline source of income in the form of a small grocery store. who mostly describe themselves as belonging to the middle class.21 6 having good children 9.23 24 personal prayer/meditation 7.82 31 having access to the internet 4.15 98.44 53 22 meeting friends 7.86 10 having a job/income 8.15 8 being able to take care of your family 9 9 having a lot of money 8.82 18 being respected in your community 7. Perception well-being: importance on a range from 0-10 Owned by % of HH 1 health of people close to you 9. as well as the satisfaction with one’s position within these dimensions. the results from the survey and the in-depth interviews will be presented. or a stall at the communal night market.1. 5. Historically relying on subsistence farming.26 84.91 53 30 fun shopping 5. Next to these formal income activities.03 17 learning new things 7. I will simultaneously compare these subjective perspectives on wellbeing with the possessions and actions of the inhabitants of the community.98 Table 1: Perceived importance of different items for well-being (1-10) and the percentage of households owning these items 5.
In this.9 insurance insurance 14. She reported that spending time with her family. nonetheless. An explanation for this is the financial burden that illness brings to a household.3 clothing who supported them at the moment. but also the emotional stress that goes along with it. The most significant contributors to well-being are related to the immediate social environment.8 10.8 electricity their education stated that it was their duty to food 12. whereby the emotional impact was generally ranked higher than the financial one.6 6. 5.3 food informants had children who were still being food 22.4 7. Education In the ranking of actual spendings (Table 3). she wants to support her parents financially and be able to take care of them when they get old. Within this topic.6 22.4 education Two interviewees who were still about to complete health 10.6 10.4 Food because they hope to benefit from it in the future.6 7. such as good relations with the family. Nang.2 9. education 15.6 7. Table 3 also shows that many households would like to spend more on education.6 7.1. Table 1 shows an order of the importance certain topics have for the well-being of inhabitants of Sri Than 4. if they had more money at hand. the health of people close to the respondents and the education of the children. food and decent housing The physical environment plays a major role for the well-being of the community members. The family was also seen as providing practical assistance in taking care of the children.1 36. That way.3 toiletries 3 education 18. happy life was defined by the ability to get a permanent and well paid job that will lead to Items of financial stability. the importance of family Rank Desired items of additional spending actual spending ties as a tool for financial security reemerges. which got a high score.3 education Religious spending 12. The willingness of the children to strive education 13. Apparently. Many 1 housing 33. This is also reflected in the in-depth interviews.1 15.5 electricity succeed. education arises as one of the most frequently named expenditures. Family relations The in-depth interviews affirmed that family relations are highly valued.8 luxury goods support their parents and other close relatives. the high ranking from the survey was also confirmed in the interviews. complete. They had the feeling that they owed those health 2. talking to her parents as often as possible. A happy.2 Safety. the health of household and family members was a bigger concern to individuals than their own health. the 24 year old student.is attached to certain issues with respect to well-being.7 18.1 6. 4 health 15. Health When it comes to the topic of health.5 repaying debts Table 2: % of households ranking their actual/desired expenditures 63. Good education for the young family members was considered as one of the most crucial preconditions for a 'happy life'.7 electricity educated.3 10.7 health food: 9.6 16 . The reason for this was the function of the family as emotional and financial backup. 39 percent of the households that were surveyed reported a case of serious illness of one or more household members.6 repaying debts was a concern to their parents. safety and decent housing were given a high score in the ranking (table 1). Here. where informants stated that they would like to save more money for the education of their children. investing in them. she is supported by her parents but she is planning to get a good job after her graduation.6 Education towards a successful completion of their education other: 13.4 12. At the moment. Also in the in-depth interviews. unite and peaceful family is important to the well-being of the informants. A good health education would help them and their future nuclear debts 10. also 2 luxury goods 15.8 food families to cover their needs and enable them to food 10. is still living with her parents. makes her happy and is a big contributor to her mental health.2 18.
the high score of the items of 'having a lot of money' and 'having a job' or a different source of income can be directly linked to a third item that received a relatively high score. would be housing (table 3). here marked in grey.5 motorcycle 92. the chance to improve one's business. food was a basic need that has unanimously been given a high importance for well-being by the interviewees. personal computers and motorcycles. namely 'being able to take care of the family' (table 1). this requirement is not met.86 17 . Be it a higher educational level for oneself or one's offspring. food is often mentioned. on the other hand. Nang. In the in-depth interviews. money and a job were thus among the first factors that where named as basic requirements for well-being. It is not an aim on it's own. As Nuk explains: 'Money enables me to lead a happy life and have a happy family. The fact that materialistic aspects are perceived to be least important with respect to well-being does not mean that Sri Than's inhabitants do not own or purchase the goods they value relatively low.1.1.8 Table 3: percentage of households owning certain assets Marked in grey (tabel 1) Cronbach's alpha of 0. can also be found in table 1.3 percent. emphasized the respect that she would gain if she supported her parents in the future. it makes her proud to talk about the way she managed to afford the education of her children. In table 2. In addition. For 25.4 Assets and luxury goods While social factors are predominant among the highest rated contributors to well-being. it already became visible that financial stability is a concern that emerges in almost every domain of life. An examination of table 3 shows that food is one of the most important purchases that is made by households is Sri Than 4. I can do anything without having to work hard.3 gas stove 83. 8 percent of the population. however.3 The material basis In the previous section.1 out of 10. Seen in from this perspective.1 car/truck 53 PC 53 telephone 50 air conditioner 25. When compared with the scores that were given to other items. The informants agreed on the relation between happiness and money. A majority of the informants drew self-respect and respect from community members out of the ability to take care. 63. also carries a subjective dimension. Generally.3 radio/cassette CD 83. In addition to safety and housing.19 out of 10. Nantawan stated that it is a 'good feeling' to be able to take care of her disabled husband. and even respect from others. food reaches the second rank of actual spending. as they report to be unsatisfied with their housing conditions and for 33. most of which are commonly found in households in Sri Than 4.2 machine bicycle 62.5 mobile phone 97 refrigerator 95. for another 22.7 percent. which made it possible to construct a scale6 that summarizes the importance of material factors for well-being with a mean score of 7. five out of the six lowest rated factors can be counted to the material dimension. the first thing to invest in if they had more money. it becomes clear that the respondents perceive materialistic factors to be among the least important contributors to well-being.8 percent of the respondents report to spend most of their households income on food. Five of them. When I have money. 5.decent housing conditions revealed to be an important factor for well-being. Majority of the materialistic items5 in this topic list are correlating. where they are part of the scale for materialistic well-being. Also in the ranking for desired expenditures. 5. Money was seen as the tool to realize various aspirations and have a comfortable life.3 video 74.2 washing 71. the respondents rate their satisfaction with their diet with a 7.' The ability to take care of the family. The ability to buy anything one needs without having to struggle for it was perceived as an important element of happy life. but rather connected to the fulfillment of basic and additional needs. convenience in daily life. some technical products are listed. When checking the percentage of households owning a certain asset against the importance the 5 6 TV 98. The include properties as mobile phones.
especially among the younger population.1. the importance of religion does not influence whether somebody gets indebted or not. buying clothes was related to well-being by three of the younger female respondents. A significant correlation can be noticed between the perception of relative wealth and the importance given to consumption. respondents where also asked to indicate their wealth level in comparison to other community members. Only 13.3 percent of the respondents. there does not seem to be a direct link. While the qualitative interviews revealed a general fear of getting indebted. Half of the respondents ranked their households wealth to be average.8 % of those indebted name agricultural purposes. ‘luxury goods’ are rarely among the four items. They stated that not only the act of shopping would bring relaxation. the respondents in the survey hardly indicated doubts about not being able to pay back. More than 90 percent.5 Debts and investments The survey has revealed that 54. People who have more money at hand to spend on luxury have shown to attach a higher value to consumption.6% of the respondents with debts. The survey confirms that age has a significant influence on the importance that is given to luxury consumption. of luxury consumption (y-axis) In the survey. 28. most of the income is spent on. seem to give less significance to luxury consumption. medical expenses are named by 5. The purpose of the loan varies. Only one respondent was not sure whether he will be able to pay back the debt. own a mobile phone and a motorcycle. To name the most popular reasons to take up a loan. being afraid not to be able to pay back the loan. At this. At the same time. 5. The survey shows that a higher importance of consumption goes along with a higher total yearly income.5% of the respondents are indebted.1 get indebted for educational reasons. whereas another 11.3 percent of the variance in the importance given to luxury Graph 1: Regression line illustrating the correlation of age (x-axis) and importance consumption can be explained by age. as they would make them look good and make them be respected as a consequence. 25% daily expenses.6 percent of the inhabitants name luxury goods in this respect. However. In the interviews. 13. 18 . Finally. 27. the other 35 indebted respondents were sure about their ability to pay. but also the effect of new clothes. For 27. luxury goods are among the four items they would spend money on. Buying luxury goods was also seen as a leisure activity. often has to do with lack of satisfaction with the current economic situation. As the graphic on the left shows. Taking up a loan. these two items are among the lowest valued for well-being. In that connection. people in less wealthy positions. In the ranking of actual and desired spending on different goods.respondents attribute to it. if they had a higher income.1% purchase luxury goods by taking up loans. the hight of debts does not seem to be correlating with the hight of the total yearly income that somebody has.9% see the need to invest into their housing and 11. This was also reflected in the desire for future investments that came to the fore in the in-depth interviews as the case of Nantawan illustrates. for instance.
6 Spiritual well-being and religious spending Table 1 also contains four items that can be defied as religious activities.5 out of 10 with respect to their importance for well-being. the relatively low incidence of religious spending does not have to indicate a low level of religious activity since religious practices do not necessarily require the use of money. In order to be respected. income and job position. In opposition to these opinions. he or she will be respected and admired. especially older informants. 13. they named more convenience in daily life and financial independence. 19 . 5. 28. Two young informants stated that they have not yet achieved any of their goals. grocery stores.1.Everyone named future plans that should either help their lives to be more comfortable or themselves to be more respected. Also. but also to the community as a whole.6 percent of the inhabitants of Sri Than 4 are spending money on religious activities and goods.8 percent would like to include religious spending into the four most important expenditures. Material achievements as own land. possible leadership functions.7 The community In the in-depth interviews. Several others. especially not in high amounts. these activities are given 7. When asked about the reason for these goals. A tendency that can be interpreted from the survey. who already had a business strived to improve the business. 'Giving food and other donations to the monks'.8 The factor of time Not only the present life situation but also the difference of this current situation with the past is another contributor to somebody's subjective well-being.. no significant correlation between age and the perceived significance of religion for well-being could be found in the data from the survey. A majority of the informants wanted to set up their own business. the decline in participation in religious activities among the younger population was lamented several times. However. 'attending ceremonies' and 'personal prayer/meditation' are positively correlating. the socio-economic status as well as the role somebody has in the community and interaction with community members was of concern to the interviewees. size of family. This score is higher than that for the material scale with an average of 7. 5. Also a job sustaining the family was seen as crucial achievement. consumptions related to religion were hardly among the four highest ranked expenditures. but still lower than the average score of the items in table 1. own house and assets made the informants proud. With a rising level of the household income the score of the religion scale would decline. as has been explained above. concerns the relation between income and religiosity. When a person can fulfill the characteristics of a 'good person' and follow the Buddhist morals. Being a good example increases one's self esteem and satisfaction with the present life situation. length of stay in the community. were already very proud with their achievements. In addition. the lesser the significance given to the role of religion for well-being. Friends and neighbors from the community were mentioned as practical and emotional backup and as social contacts for leisure activities. active engagement in community activities. 5. the ability to help other family members was widely valued. Together. Again.1. The higher the income.1. Others. 'going to the temple'. generosity. or renting out apartments. In the in-depth interviews.1. but also as customers of one's business. In this way being a role model for others increases the subjective well-being. mostly restaurants. informants did not only refer to their household and family members. informants tried to be a good example in the community. religiousness. Some informants also related a feeling of proud and gladness with the improvement of their job or business. The awareness of having achieved something in life seems to be important. The individuals position in the community is derived from age. if they had more money.
this section will focus on some important Buddhist notions that influence the world view. is not satisfied with her present situation. Sawat. not drinking. he enjoys drinking and flirting with other women occasionally. Being satisfied was also seen as the precondition for the avoidance of 'struggling for more'. as a second aspect. When asked about the definition however. as the informants seemed to bring it in line with their own situations. At least once during the interviews. however. 5. Buddhist ethics and ideal behavior Actions. stated that he tries to be a good example for his family and neighbors. 5. Nang. informants closely linked their behavior to the ideals they mentioned. decisions and reasoning can not be understood without referring to the cultural context of a person. not lying. also associates drinking alcohol with spending time with her friends which is a kind of relaxation to her and makes her happy.2. especially men. namely the need to be satisfied with one’s present situation and the means one has at hand to shape the future. the 46 year old mother and restaurant owner. These future plans. Thus. put a lot of pressure on her to work hard and improve her business. like clothes. She feels poor and wants to reach a better wealth level in the future. the morals where directly mentioned while at several instances they were reflected in statements on ideal and actual behavior. In that line. He explains this by a need to participate in social life and make friends. a differentiation can be made between different aspects connected to the notion of sufficiency. not committing adultery. In a few cases agricultural self-sufficiency was mentioned as a more pure form of sufficiency economy. as promoted by king Bhumipol was widely known to the informants. Informants were asked what they would like to purchase if they had two times their current income.2 Weltanschauung. The informants believe that following Buddhist ethics will help them to be a ‘good person’ who is respected or even admired by others. the interviewees fell back on general ideas of sufficiency as mentioned above. The saved money should 20 .2 Sufficiency The philosophy of Sufficiency Economy. on the other hand. Nuk. sit together and drink the local white whiskey or beer. not stealing. The definition of sufficiency economy seemed to be quite flexible.2. keeping the Buddhist commandments. people associated drinking alcohol with relaxation and and social contacts. a 45 year old man. Mostly. ‘peaceful’ peaceful life and a better after life. One of them lies within the individual. However. The commandment of ‘not lying’. was reflected in terms like ‘honesty’ and ‘sincerity’ and ‘trustworthiness’ as characteristics of a good person. The notion of sufficiency was a topic widely recurring in the interviews. It was very common to see people. They may even function as a good example within the household and the community as a whole. for example. the 24 year old university student. an urge which was seen as a constraint to happiness as it stems from a situation in which one is not satisfied. Principles that were named as being led by the philosophy were the avoidance of overspending and the re-use of old things. In this.1 The five Buddhist morals Buddhism is generally seen as a guide to a ‘happy’. Alcohol was commonly referred to as a big problem. This could also be observed while staying in the community. The majority of the informants was quite confident about their ability to keep the commandments with the exception of drinking alcohol. Being sufficient requires the ability to distinguish between the necessary and the unnecessary things in life. In the in-depth interviews. ideals and behavioral norms of the inhabitants of Sri Than 4. the response was to save the money. A crucial element in the ethics of the informants were the five Buddhist morals which were named by almost all informants. In this case it was not possible for the informants to fulfill the requirements while living in a sub-urban area.5. since they could not think of things that were really 'necessary' at the moment. the attitudes and behavior will simultaneously be described here. for example. But. Here most interviewees admitted that they enjoy drinking alcohol with friends. The morals were summed up as the commandments of not killing. As a consequence it was not surprising that a majority of the interviewees were positive about their ability to comply with the requirements of sufficiency economy.
work as a buffer in times of bad health of one of the family members. Of course the interpretation of the terms ‘necessary’ and ‘unnecessary’ can be shaped individually. However. Thai Buddhism provides a range of options to increase one’s merit. Another informant put that good behavior in daily life is more important than going to the temple. 9. giving advice to others on topics like health. Burdening family members. to wit good or bad. such as birth. Through merit making. most informants also emphasized the short term impacts of it. It is also possible to transfer merit to others.1. Some of these codes of conduct have already been mentioned in relation to the Buddhist morals. Merit making is primarily aimed at a good afterlife. an exam or a job interview. gods or spirits. In the section on well-being. cloths or food to monks. it is also crucial to avoid 'bad' behavior. The survey showed that 34. Freeing animals as birds or fish was another way of making merit. I shortly alluded to the importance of these practices. Activities that were named in relation to daily merit making were particularly those that would benefit others. moral support was also named. Informants found it important to be a good example for others. as well as the next life. Donating food to the monks was also widely mentioned. the interviewees believe to be able to improve their future destiny. friends or the community through problems one is responsible for should be avoided. conduct. You can also make merit in everyday life by giving clothes to the poor and candy to children’. Finally the interviewees expected to gain merit from prayer and meditation. While the focus lies on good behavior. The informants emphasized the importance to omit harming others or extending one’s problems to others. illness. As a matter of fact. In case of the latter. merit can be accumulated. ideal ways of life. 5.1% of the respondents sustain friends financially. A more informal way of making merit has to do with the incorporation of Buddhist ethics in everyday life. investment in the own business and education of the younger family members. As an informant stated during the interview: ‘It is not necessary to go to the temple to make merit.8% of the respondents seem to transfer money to family members or relatives who are not part of the household. These practices always deal with the impact of one’s action on others. Then. poor or deceased people as well as people facing major of minor critical life events. this life. poor people and family members in need. shortly summarized as ‘doing good’. This is mostly done in cases that others may be in a weak position which makes them dependent on assistance. Thoughts around karma encompass the previous life. these problems could be unemployment. Through good behavior and actions in daily life. It has to be noted that these practices (except for prayer and meditation) do not have to be aimed at gaining merit for oneself. Two ways of making merit can be distinguished as merit making can either be incorporated in everyday life or deliberately be acquired through religious practices. all informants were more elaborate on the implementation of ideal behavior in daily life than on institutionalized forms of merit making. This can also be seen as a reason why informants are anxious not to affect others negatively by their own actions. sick. Generally the informants believe that the nature of their actions. Some informants name it directly. As a consequence. 21 . Friends could be burdened by seeking their help with financial problems while on community level crimes as theft or vandalism were given as an example.3 Karma and merit The notion of karma recurs in all interviews. It can be thought of children or elderly. The informants most frequently named practices as paying respect and bringing offerings to Buddha. On household level. Not causing trouble for others seems to be one of the most important characteristics of a 'good' person. while others explain the concept without giving a name to it. The most obvious one was financial support and material help. failure to complete one's education or inability to sustain the family. marriage. will be reflected in the way their future is shaped. One’s present circumstances have mainly been predetermined by the sum of good and bad deeds in the previous life. mercy and generosity were values that were often brought in relation to every day merit making acted out through donating money.
informants stated that they should be and were happy and satisfied with their standard of living and the consumption choices they had. many statements about the satisfaction with their living standard did not show in the way informants would struggle for an improvement of their and their children's economic situation. she saw herself as a role model because she had a harmonious family and considered herself to be a ‘good’ wife and mother. The Buddhist notion of sufficiency shapes thoughts about consumption. The basic values of Thai Buddhist ethics that came to the surface during the research were sufficiency. before discussing them in relation to the theory. p. giving insight about how the sub-urban middle class of north eastern Thailand join idealistic and materialistic aspects of well-being in their consumption choices. Sri Thanians believe that their fate is dependent on their karma. Praying for others and transferring merit to others were said to be done on a daily basis. In that way. Sufficiency also asks for a moderation of aspirations and the avoidance of harming others by one’s actions. Moreover. the 60 year old nurse. munificence and compassion. As an informant stated: ‘ If people have good luck and a better position than us. 6.37) as they can alter their position within the social hierarchy through the accumulation of merit. argues that from the Thai weltanschauung all beings are potentially equal (Cohen. The overarching concepts of Thai Buddhism that could be identified during the research were karma and multiple rebirth. They had future plans for investments and wanted their children to live a better life. as Geertz had also suggested. preventing others from doing ‘bad’ things that could have a negative impact on others and on their karma was named several times. a higher income. Making merit in this life will help to influence their destiny in positive ways and secure a better afterlife. I will summarize and interpret the findings from the information gained in the local context. determined on how much merit they were able to accumulate in their previous life. However. First. it means that they have done so many good things in their previous life’. Many informants were even indebted for bigger investments. Through merit making. She made them aware of bad habits that would detriment their health.1 Idealistic and materialistic aspects of well-being linked up The research shows that religion helps the inhabitants of Sri Than to make sense of their perceptions by providing order and meaning to their actions and interactions with others. which lead to the answer of the main question. It increases their hope for a better future. Helping others on a spiritual way was also common. In the interviews. Some informants even noted that the tangible effects of merit making are subordinate to the comforting and encouraging feeling it entails. writing about Thai social structure. 6. I hope to answer the sub questions of this research. as I have mentioned above.Besides. Sufficiency is valued high and goes along with the requirement to feel satisfied with the present state of being and the means at hand to shape the future. the informants get the feeling of having an influence on their destiny and the destiny of people they care about. whatever the type. In addition. A discrepancy could thus be noted between the ideals of sufficiency and the actual behavior and attitudes towards material wealth. The higher socio-economic status of others can be explained by their good previous life. Almost all of the informants wished for a better job. also offered her advice on health issues to community members. honesty and diligence. A majority of the informants had the idea that they could live along the lines of the King’s Sufficiency Economy. Merit is accumulated through regular religious activities and ‘doing good’ in everyday life. This was also reflected 22 . Payun. 1991. Cohen. CONCLUSION In this concluding chapter I will discuss the results that were presented in the previous chapter in the light of the theoretical considerations from chapter two. the concept of karma helps to be satisfied with the own life situation while simultaneously giving a tool to reach for a better situation in the future. In this. the concept of karma helps to accept inequalities and shocks.
definitions of 23 . A higher socio-economic status would. when asked directly. what is a better future? It was shown that a combination of social and material aspects were desired but also the human preconditions such as health. First of all. In that line.in this research. the younger generations may have to rely more on the material dimension to be respected. This was the case with almost all basic aspects of well-being. as they have grown up with them. even through taking up loans. But. The question is. Older informants derived more well-being from the social status they had attained in the community. Therefore. In this. as informants often stated that merit making gave them a feeling of agency. and being perceived as such by others. which did not ask for the passive acceptance of the present situation but more for a moderated and reasonable handling of the means at hand which does not exclude the hope to move forward in the future. younger informants attributed leisure. It can be stated that people are trying to embed their consumption choices into the values and concepts that are provided by Thai Buddhism. motorcycles and cars. a higher income. The survey revealed that the importance that is given to material luxury is more present among the younger population. the interviewees stated to be satisfied with their lives and did not miss out to mention that it was important to be satisfied and omit reaching out for goal they could not reach easily. happiness and respect to the purchase of goods that were not seen as a basic need. education. Here. One may conclude that these informants might have tended to give answers which are socially desirable. however. these statements. such as mobile phones. in the Buddhist weltanschauung. are not consistent with people’s tendency wanting to improve their situation. Another reason for the role of age in the importance that is given to luxury consumption could be the fact that most of what is perceived to be luxury goods. For an outsider. In the Buddhist world view. 6. These products are more familiar with the younger generations. and thus the perceived need to improve one’s karma increases with a higher age. a new car or a new house are presented as being a necessity. a tool to shape their future and that of the people they care about. In the interviews. emphasizing those aspects that are best matched with their situations. It is explained by the need to support others and do good. are technical products. the close the next life comes. striving for a better job. The research has shown that striving for higher income is not justified by the need of more luxury or comfort. This attitude is informed by Buddhist ethics and the Thai King’s philosophy of Sufficiency Economy. televisions and personal computers. however. In addition. there is another aspect to this notion. Harmonious family relations were the first condition for well-being to be mentioned. purchases and planned investments. most of the informants look at their consumption choices as motivated by Buddhist ethics and therefore as matching with these norms and values. The older somebody gets.2 Unifying different desires and motives for well-being There were thus two statements that almost all informants made in the in-depth interviews. Basic material needs that were mostly named were food and decent housing for the family. whether saving money for education. Both achievements within the social and the material dimension are believed to reflect one’s karma. reflect a good character. the Buddhist values of compassion and munificence can be traced. Majority alluded to health and education of family members as basic human needs. and safety. the concern about one’s well-being is thus not limited to the present and the future in this life. As age and achievements in family life are playing a big role for social status. an exemplary family life and more respect in the community may be connected with the wish for an affirmation of being a good person. This is conflicting with the principles of sufficiency that encourages to be satisfied and discourage the desire to have more than what is needed. improvement of one's business. when learning more about the notion of sufficiency. What was conspicuous that consumption choices where overly named in relation to the family or the household. but also in the next life.
Via consumption. The concept of narrative makes this idea palpable. Sri Thanians are looking at their purchases as a necessity that would contribute not only to their own well-being. as was also stated by Mackenzie (in Atkins& Mackenzie. value was also given to the way one’s actions and consumption choices are judged in the wider social context. It may be useful to widen the concept of subjective wellbeing with the idea that individual actors can adjust their own subjectivity of perception and thereby increase their subjective well-being. the interviewees were quite confident about their ability to act according to the Buddhist ethics. It was obvious that the value of these functionings was widely based on Buddhist ethics and the weltanschauung that Buddhist concepts inform. that. This is also in line with the WeD framework. following the five Buddhist morals and other behavioral norms. Thus. as it is called by Sen. the ‘narrative’ about consumption choices had a social and a moral dimension. p. Secondly. 2008. the higher the satisfaction with her life. munificence. actions were justified through their motives and underlying values in order to come to motivational integrity (Atkins&Mackenzie. with money as the basis. and generosity.15). In this. within which meaningful action is acknowledged to be a part of well-being. Making sense of one’s actions contributes to the subjective well-being of a person. not only the individual perception but also the social environment plays a role. They saw themselves as good Buddhists. The motivations of for their consumption choices were brought in line with these ethics. 24 . such as compassion. they could reach different valuable functionings. but also to their families’ well-being.certain concepts may also be shaped according to the own situation that makes the own actions logical and contributes to a coherent self-narrative. p. Idealistic and material aspects of well-being are joined by an iterative process of continuously balancing consumption choices and motives in relation to their social and cultural context.170). It could be stated. The more a person is able to smoothly integrate into the socio-cultural environment. as Atkins and Mackenzie suggest. In this.
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Give each member a code.1: Please tell us about all household members Lives in HH M PID A Nickname B Relation head HH C Sex D Place of (years) birth E F Age Marital Educational Education status G level H Reason Main Religion L completed drop out Occupation I J K Instruction/remarks: A) PID = personal ID-code. This should correspond with the codes you use in Form B1 and B2. (many born in hospital in the city) Thus note the place where they lived after they returned from the hospital. please state the main reason . B) Fullname = please write down in English. not in Thai F) Exclude hospital.Appendix 1: English version of the household survey Form A: Basic Household Data A. H) Education level = highest level reached I) Education completed? = Has this person completed the schooling? Or did this person drop out early? M) Lives in HH = Does this person currently live in this house? Or does he or she stay somewhere else? Form A Codes (C) Relationship to head of the HH: (F) Place of birth: (J) If drop out.
specify how many years completed…. PID Length Year start Current/last Reason for Send/ bring Spending Send/ bring Kind of goods . For each of these persons. but returned/seasonal migrant (away for more than 3 months last year) (Continue with Form B1) 03 No (continue with form B1) Form B1: Migrated Household members Data Continued from Form A: include those persons who are currently not living in the house Instruction: Copy the PID of the persons for whom the answer in column M (in Form A) is 02 and 03. specify (K) Main occupation: 01 Student/ child 02 Working in industrial sector 03 Working in civil services 04 Working in services 05 Working in agriculture 06 Bussiness/ trading 07 Transportation 08 Craftsmanship 09 Retired 10 Housework 11 Unemployed 12 Unable to work/ disabled 13 Other (specify) (L) Religion: 01 Buddist 02 Muslim 03 Christian 04 None 05 Other (specify) (M) Lives currently in the HH: 01 Yes. continue with Form B2. permanently (=more than 9 months last year) 02 Yes. If none of the household members live outside the house or has been doing that before.01 Head of the HH 02 Husband/ wife 03 Child (biological) 04 Child (step / adopted) 05 Son/ daughter in law 06 Parent 07 Father/ mother in law 08 Direct brother /sister 09 Brother/ sister in law 10 Grandchild 11 Grandparent (female side) 12 Grandparent (male side) 13 Uncle/ aunt 14 Cousin 15 Servant 16 Other relative (specify) 17 Other non-relative (specify) (B) Sex: 01 Male 02 Female 01 Non-Non Wat 02 Sri Than 03 Other quarter Khon Kaen 04 Ban Fang 05 Ban Lao 06 Other village/city in Khon Kaen province 07 Other village/city in Isan 08 Other village/city outside Isan (in Thailand) 09 Other (specify) (G) Marital status: 01 Not yet married 02 Living together unmarried 03 Married 04 Living separated 05 Divorced 06 Widowed (H) Educational level: 01 Not yet in school (continue column K) 02 Never been to school (continue column K) 03 Primary school 04 Secondary school 05 High school 06 College/ university 07 Other (specify) (I) Education completed: 01 Yes 02 No.. 01 For economic reasons 02 Other reason. fill in this Form B1.
g.A of leave (in months) B migration C place of stay/work D migration E money home F money G goods home H I Form B1 Codes (D) Current/last place of stay/work 01 This Village/community 02 Other Village in Isan 03 Other quarter in Khon Kaen 04 Other city in Isan 05 Greater Bangkok (in and around) 06 Eastern and mid Thailand 07 Southern Thailand 08 North and West Thailand 09 Abroad 10 Other (specify) (E) Reason for migration 01 Marriage 02 Occupation (job) 03 Education 04 Other (specify) (F) Send/ bring money home 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know (G) Main spending of the money (multiple answers possible) 01 Daily expenses 02 For ceremony 03 Housing 04 Investments 05 Luxury goods/durables 06 Medical expenses 07 Education 08 Communication (e. phone) 09 Other (specify) (H) Send/ bring goods home 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know (I) Kind of goods (multiple answers possible) 01 Stereoset 02 Television 03 Other electronics 04 Clothing 05 Cigarettes/liquor 06 Food 07 Other (specify) .
the answer is 7. the answer is 24. Example 2: Does this person works oversees and has been doing that for 7 months up to now.in case of returned migrant . . Example 3: If a person has been working oversees for 2 years but returned 3 months ago.where they were last time. or . C) When did this person leave the house for the first time? In what year? D) Place of migration.Instruction B) Length of leave = How long did/does this person stay outside the house (in months / last period of migration)? Example 1: Does this person work elsewhere for 6 months and then return home? Then the answer is 6. They are there now.
Form C: Housing C.1 What type of house does this household live in? Instruction: answer by own observation. column F)? If no.Form B2: Migrated Household members Data Instruction: Are any household members born outside the current place of residence (see form A. (maybe the person arrived at the age of 2 when the parents migrated. or the person came a few years ago in search for a job). continue with Form C If yes. Copy the exact PID-code from Form A B2 For people who were born outside the current place of residence (see Form A) when did they come to this community and why? PID Date person arrived in current place of residence (month/year) B Reason for migration A C Form B2 Codes (C) Reason for migration 01 Marriage 02 Migration with family 03 Occupation (job) 04 Education 05 Other (specify) Instruction: This Form seeks to identify those persons who migrated to the current place of residence. For those born outside the place of residence. 01 Shack 04 Brick/ concrete house (two floors) . fill in Form B2 for each person that was born outside the current community. please ask when they came to the current village/city and why they moved there.
7 What is the main source of fuel for cooking? 01 Electricitry .. C. C. specify…………….2 Does the household own this property? Or do they rent it? Or is there a different construction? 01 Own property 02 The household pays rent 03 Don't know 04 Other (specify) C.4 Does the dwelling have electricity? 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know C.6 What kind of toilet facility do the members of the household use? 01 Flush toilet 02 Pit latrine 03 Bucket toilet 04 None (outdoors) 05 Other. specify……………….3 Does the household own the land on which the dwelling is built? 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know C.5 What is the main source of drinking water? 01 Private piped water 02 Communal piped water 03 Well/ tube well 04 Rain water (often from water storage jar) 05 Bottled water 06 Other.02 Wooden house 03 Brick/ concrete house (one floor) 05 Brick/ wooden house 06 Appartment 07 Other (specify) C.
9 Concerning your family's housing which of the following is true? The family's housing is: 01 Not adequate 02 Just adequate 03 More than adequate 04 Don't know/ no answer Number: Form D: Land and assets D. stalk.4) D.3 Codes (A) Land ownership/ usage: 01 Land is owned by the HH (trough land certificate) 02 Land of parents used free of charge (C) Use of the fields (multiple answers possible): 01 Houseplot 02 Rice (D) Main type of water .4) 03 Don't want to tell (continue to question D..3 Land owned and operated by the household: No Land ownership/ usage Area (rai) A B 1 2 3 4 5 Number: Use of fields C Type of water D Form D. chaff) 07 Other. specify……………… C.02 Petroleum products 03 Bottled gas / gas tank 04 Firewood (wood.1 Do you own/use land? 01 Yes 02 No (continue to question D.g.2 How many pieces of land do you use/own? D. etc. leaves & twigs.) 05 Charcoal 06 Agricultural residue (e.8 How many bedrooms + living rooms does the house have? C.
specify D.4 Does your household own any livestock and how many? (excluding pets) (Note 0 (zero) if they do not own one of the items) Kind of livestock No.1 What are the income sources of your household? . owned 01 Radio/ cassette/ CD 02 Television 03 Video/ DVD player 04 Telephone (not mobile) 05 Mobile Phone 06 Refrigerator 07 Gas stove 08 Air conditioner 09 Bicycle 10 Motorcycle 11 Tractor 12 Car/ truck 13 Washing machine 14 Personal Computer Form E: Income sources E.03 Rented by the HH for money 04 Rented by the HH for a share of the harvested crop 05 Renting-out 06 Public land 07 Other (specify) 03 Cabbage 04 Sugarcane 05 Cassave 06 Corn 07 Mushroom 08 Tomato 09 Melon 10 Other.5 How many of these items are in your house? (Note 0 (zero) if they do not own one of the items) Kind of asset No. Owned 01 Cow 02 Buffalo 03 Chicken 04 Duck 05 Pig 06 Other (specify) D. specify used: 01 Rain water 02 Underground water pump 03 Pumped pond water 04 Public canals 05 None 06 Other.
labour 03 Non-agricultural activities .1 Does your household currently have any debts? 01 Yes 02 No (continue to question F. continue to C and D 02 No 03 Don't know/ don't want to tell (D) Period: 01 Daily 02 Weekly 03 Monthly 05 Yearly 06 Other (specify) E.own business 04 Non-agricultural activities . specify Yes/ no B Amount (Baht) C Period D Form E1 Codes (B) Income source? 01 Yes.2) To whom/ where A No 1 2 Amount (Baht) B Purpose C How pay back D Able to pay back E .2 How satisfied are you with the household income? (0=completely dissatisfied.labour 05 Pension 06 Remittances 07 Other.Type of income source A 01 Agricultural activities .own business 02 Agricultural activities .2) 03 Don't want to tell/ don't know (continue to question F. 10= completely satisfied) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Form F: Debts/savings F. 5=neutral.
3 4 5 Form F1 Codes (A) To whom/where has the HH debts: 01 Bank (BAAC/BCCA) 02 Other bank 03 Relatives in village/ city 04 Relatives outside village/ city 05 Money lenders 06 Friends 07 Neighbours 08 Village headman 09 Village fund (specify) 10 Other (specify) (C) Purpose of debt: 01 Daily expenses 02 For ceremony 03 Housing 04 Investments 05 Luxury goods/durables 06 Medical expenses 07 Education 08 Gambling & drinking 09 Other (specify) (D) How to pay back: 01 Money 02 Labour 03 Money and labour 04 Goods 05 Other (specify) (E) Able to pay back 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know .
3 Does your household have any money savings? 01 Yes.F. specify in Baht Baht: 02 No 03 Don't want to tell/ don't know . specify in Bath (weight) Bath (weight): 02 No 03 Don't want to tell/ don't know F.2 Do the household members have any gold? 01 Yes.
(0=completely dissatisfied. 5=neutral.Form G: Consumption G.1 How often are following kind of foods consumed in your household on average? Instruction: please tick the right box in each line Daily (1) Weekly (2) Monthly (3) Less often (4) Never (5) 01 Fruit 02 Vegetables 03 Fish/ water animals 04 Pork 05 Beef 06 Chicken 07 Eggs 08 little land animals 09 snacks Remark: Snack = candy. ice cream. etc.2 Please indentify your level of satisfaction with your household's food consumption during the different seasons. 10= completely satisfied) Please encircle the right number 01 Dry Season 02 Wet Season 03 Winter 0 0 0 1 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 6 7 7 7 8 8 8 9 9 9 10 10 10 . G.
what is the value of those goods? Instruction: note the total value sent in the last year Sent to A 01 Family/relatives 02 Friends Yes/ no B Amount (Baht) C Form G3 Codes (B) Money/goods sent to these categories? 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know/ want to tell G.4 On which items does your household spend most money? Number the 4 most important items. Note 1 for the first. 2 for the second. (Let the respondent rank.3 In the past 12 months. most important item.G. specify . ceremonies) 13 Repaying debts 14 Other. 3 for the third and 4 for the fourth) Goods Ranking A 01 Food 02 Clothes 03 Education 04 Insurance 05 Luxury goods 06 Transport 07 Toiletries 08 Electricity 09 Housing 10 Taxes 11 Health 12 Religious spending (monks. how much? If goods. did anyone in the household send money or goods to relatives or friends outside the household? If yes.
ceremonies) 13 Repaying debts 14 Other. most important item.1 We would like to learn more about shocks: unexpected events that have a negative influence on your household e.G. 10=very large impact) Kind of shock Yes/No Impact on daily life .g.5 If your household had more money on which four goods would you like to spend more money? (Let the respondent rank..economically Impact on daily life . Note 1 for the first. specify Form H: Shocks H1. Did one of the following shock occur to your household in the past 5 years? (0=no impact.emotionally (scale 0-10) (scale 0-10) A B C D 01 Serious Illness of a HH member 02 Death of HH member 03 Failed crop 04 Loss of employment/bankrupty 05 Sudden fall of crop price Form H Codes (b) Yes/no . 5=neutral. a failed crop. 2 for the second. 3 for the third and 4 for the fourth) Ranking 01 Food 02 Clothes 03 Education 04 Insurance 05 Luxury goods 06 Transport 07 Toiletries 08 Electricity 09 Housing 10 Taxes 11 Health 12 Religious spending (monks.
A. Don't know / N.01 Yes (Continue with column C and D) 02 No Instruction: B) Did the shock occur to this household in the past 5 years? C/D) Note the number of the scale in the column Form I: Health I.A.4 Do you go to a private clinic or hospital if a household member is ill? 01 Yes 02 No (Continue with Form J) 03 No answer (Continue with Form J) I. Don't know / N. why do you go to a private hospital or clinic? 01 Because it is closer to the house 02 Because the quality is better in these facilities 03 Because these facilities and doctors are more reliable Don't know / N.1 Does a household member suffer from chronic ill health? 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know/ want to tell I. .A.5 If yes.3 How satisfied are you with the following health facilities? (scale 0-10) (0=very dissatisfied. Don't know / N. 5=neutral.2 Does a household member suffer from a major disability? 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know/ want to tell I. 10=very satisfied) How satisfied are you with the care you receive from the following facilities? (scale 0-10) 01 Traditional midwife 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 02 Sub-district government health centre 10 03 District government hospital 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 04 Provincial governmental hospital 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 I.A.
Name……………………………. specify who and what position PID……………. Name…………………………….1 How often do members of your household have contact with: (Please tick the right box for each row) Once or twice a year (4) Daily (1) 01 Relatives nearby (in community) 02 Relatives far away 03 Neighbours 04 Colleagues at work 05 Religious dignitaries 06 Community leaders J.Position……………………………………………………… PID…………….Position……………………………………………………… PID……………. entertainment F J.2 Please indicate the purpose of those contacts (Multiple answers possible. specify Form J: Social relations J. eating. Name……………………………. please tick the right box for each row) Economic support A 01 Relatives nearby 02 Relatives far away 03 Neighbours 04 Colleagues at work 05 Religious dignitaries 06 Community leaders Weekly (2) Monthly (3) Less (5) Emotional support B Ceremonies or festivities C Work.04 Other reason.Position……………………………………………………… 03 Don't no / No answer J.3 Do you or does one of your household members occupy an important position in the village/community? 01 No 02 Yes.4 Are you or someone of your household a member of any organisation? . business D Official meetings E chatting.
7 Why did you or other members of your family dropped out? (multiple answers possible) (tick the right boxes) Person 1 Person 2 Person 3 PID: PID: PID: 01 Fees were to high 02 No more interested in activities 03 Organisation stopped as a whole 04 Did not agree with the policies or goals of the organisation 05 We moved to another place 06 Personal conflicts with the organisation 07 Health Problems 08 Other (specifiy) 09 Don't know/don't want to tell Person 4 PID: Form K: Politics K.5 In what kind of organization(s) do the members of your household participate at the present? (please tick the right box) Yes No 01 Official village based organisation 02 Spontanous.2) .01 Yes 02 No (continue to J.6) J.6) 03 Don't know (Continue to J.6 Did you or any member of your household dropped out of any organisation lately? 01 Yes 02 No (Continue to Form K) 03 Don't know (Continue to Form K) J. informal village based organisation 03 Governmental organisation beyond the community 04 NGO 05 Labour union 06 Religious group 07 Political party 08 Others (specify) J.3) 02 No (continue to K.1 Did you vote at the last elections? 01 Yes (continue to K.
3 Why did you vote for the party you voted for? (multiple answers possible) 01 Because this political party has a programme I support 02 Because my family votes for the same party 03 Because the village headman advised me to vote for this party 04 Because a community leader asked me to do so 05 Because I received a small payment 06 Because this party has done something for our community in the past 07 Because this party has done something for me in the past 08 Becasue this party has a leader I support 09 Other. specify K.4) K.4 Will you vote during the next elections? 01 Yes (continue with K.7) .4 (If answered 'yes' to question K.7) 03 Don't know (Go to question K.1) K.5) 02 No (Go to question K.7) 04 Don't want to tell (Go to question K.03 Don't want to tell (continue with K.2 Why not? (multiple answers possible) 01 Because of practical problems 02 Because I do not think my vote makes a difference 03 Because none of the political parties has a leader I like 04 Because none of the political parties has a program I support 05 Because I disagree with the way politics is functioning 06 Because I do not trust politicians 07 Other (specify) Continue with question K.
K.6) 03 Don' t know (Continue with question K. why do you want to vote for a different political party? (multiple answers possible) 01 Because this political party has a programme I support 02 Because my family votes for the same party 03 Because the village headman advised me to vote for this party 04 Because a community leader asked me to do so 05 Because I received a small payment 06 Because this party has done something for our community in the past 07 Because this party has done something for me in the past 08 Becasue this party has a leader I support 09 Because I am unsatisfied with the party I voted for during the last election 10 Other.7 What or who are your sources of information on politics? Indicate on a scale from 0 to 10 how important the following sources are to you. specify 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .6 If not the same party.7) 02 No (Continue with question K.7) 04 Don't want to tell (Continue with question K. 5=neutral.7) K. specify K. (0=not at all important.5 Will you vote for the same party? 01 Yes (Continue with question K. 10=very important) 01 Radio 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 02 TV 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 03 Newspaper 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 04 Relatives 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 05 Neighbours 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 06 Friends 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 07 Village head 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 08 Other community leader 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 09 Rally of political party 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 Other.
specify K.9 What sources of information you consider to be the most reliable? (Note a 1 for the most reliable.11) 02 No (continue to K.K.12) .10 Have you ever participated in political demonstrations? 01 Yes (continue to K.8 How often do you receive information on politics? 01 Never 02 Less than once a month 03 About once a month 04 Almost once every two weeks 05 About once a week 06 Almost every day 07 Don't know/don't want to tell K. a 2 for the second reliable and a 3 for the third answered item) Rank 01 Radio 02 TV 03 Newspaper 04 Relatives 05 Neighbours 06 Friends 07 Village head 08 Other community leader 09 Rally of political party 10 Other.12) 03 Don’t want to tell (continue to K.
5=neutral. specify 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 K. 10=very satisfied) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 . how important are the following characterisitcs for a politician? Indicate on a scale 0-10 (0=not important at all. 5=neutral.11 If yes.13 How satisfied are you with the quality of the existing politicians? Indicate on a scale of 0-10 for each characteristic (0=very dissatisfied. 5=neutral. 10=very important) 01 Honesty 0 1 2 02 Reliability 0 1 2 03 Accountability 0 1 2 04 Experience 0 1 2 05 Having a lot of money 0 1 2 06 The will to cooperate with other politicians from all parties 0 1 2 07 Other. specify 0 1 2 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 K. (0=very dissatisfied.14 Are you all in all satified with the present political situation? Indicate on a scale 0-10. Why? 01 Because I received a small payment 02 Because I was against the policy 03 Because I was asked to join 04 Other (specify) K.12 According to you.K. 10=very satisfied) 01 Honesty 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 02 Reliability 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 03 Accountability 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 04 Experience 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 05 Having a lot of money 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 06 The will to cooperate with other politicians from all parties 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 07 Else.
a 2 for the second and a 3 for the third answered item) Rank 01 Better information 02 More honesty 03 More accountability 04 Stronger leaders 05 More democracy 06 Less democracy 07 More reliability 08 More attention for local issues 09 More political cooperation 10 Stonger parties 11 Other. Specify .15 What are according to you the main three changes needed. (Note a 1 for the most important change.K.
Form L: Perception of Wellbeing (0=not important at all.1 Can you mention how important the following issues are to you on a scale from 0 to 10? (Encircle the answer given) No. 10=very important L. Big C) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 6 Having free time 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 7 Being able to take care of your family 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 8 Having a job/income 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Being respected in your community 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 Learning new things 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 11 Engaging in politics 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 12 Having good children 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 13 Having a personal computer 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 14 Having a decent home 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 15 Having children 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 16 Owning a motorcycle 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 17 Health of people close to you 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 18 Going to the temple 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 19 Being able to vote 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 20 Giving food and other donations to monks 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 21 Having access to the internet 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 22 Having good relations with your family 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 23 Having a TV 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 24 Attending ceremonies 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 25 Having the freedom to express your political opinion 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 26 Personal prayer/ meditation 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 27 Owning a mobile phone 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 28 Having good relations with the spirits 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 29 Having a lot of money 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 30 Being safe 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 31 Owning a car 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 32 Having children educated at high school or university 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 L. 1 Being healthy 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 2 Owning land 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 3 Meeting friends 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 4 Having a partner 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 5 Fun shopping (e.2 How wealthy do you consider your household compared to other households in 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 .g.
10= very wealthy) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .your village/ neighbourhood? (0=least wealthy. 5=average.
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