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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
totally being fixated on the economic aspects of wellbeing they missed to look around and see the other domains of life. 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. while the satisfaction with one's situation can be imagined at the initial and final states.’ (Jongudomkarn & Camfield. made during a research on the quality of life in this area: ‘A happy man is a wealthy man. That doesn’t have to say that the economic dimension is most important for somebody’s wellbeing. rather than discarding the economic. This process is a continuum between various desires and the way they are either discarded or put into action. 1966. As a consequence. This is for example reflected in a statement of a 59 year old widow from Isan (northeastern Thailand). Embedding these processes into the context of subjective wellbeing. p. Some even proved that income had barely any impact on overall wellbeing . The concept of multidimensional poverty arose and gradually the economic dimension palled. however. 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. the factors that one finds important for wellbeing play a role during that process. In wellbeing research practice. money. Returning to the metaphor of the music instrument. It is the spacial acoustics that contribute to the sound. the way in which people come to spend their income may not. are translated into specific consumption choices. they began realize that income and consumption could be complemented with other dimensions to reach a fuller sound. Sarah White criticizes this tendency since the perceptions of the 1 . p. easy to count and to compare. We know how happy a man is by counting his material goods such as car. The fact that people are very aware of their economic situation makes it worth taking a closer look behind the scenes. 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. Even if income may have a relatively low significance on its own. a bias towards quantitative methods to asses subjective wellbeing can be noticed. Anthropologist Clifford Geertz describes religion as a cultural pattern which is providing a ‘guideline for social and psychological processes which shape public behavior’(Geertz. family relations are a bit more complicated to observe. Consumption choices are the result of a decision making process which is informed by these ethics. not only the playing technique may be producing a different sound. Material aspects are what people refer to in the first place when it comes to the assessment of their wellbeing. Thus. I thus want to zoom in on those motives that have been influenced by Thai Theravada Buddhism. At first. This research is thus focused on the decision making process in which motives transform into concrete choices. I wanted to find out about the process by which motives. 20). ideals and goals. defined as a combination of individual and collective ethics. tangible. gold. instead of focusing on actual consumption patterns. In the Thai cultural context the sound waves are reflected by the architecture of Theravada Buddhism. not to speak of the psychological dimension. Apart from linking happiness with wealth people would also describe the ideal person as someone who is unselfish and not materialistic (Jongudomkarn & Camfield.INTRODUCTION Theorists on wellbeing have been dealing with the economic dimension like children do with their desired musical instrument. The reason for this tendency is quite obvious: Material wealth is visible. and jewelery.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. Thus. 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. 2005). In opposition. I laid the emphasis on the decision making process whereby certain ideals and motives lead to certain consumption choices.6). After a while. ideals and goals.
She further elaborates that approaches to wellbeing should be person-centered. the former have mainly provided a general overview while the latter have yielded the crucial information needed to answer the research questions. For this purpose. as well as on ethics and ideals. At this. Therefore. theories on well-being. within which incomes may be pooled and most purchases made collectively.10). Therefore I conducted the research in a community with average wealth level in urban Khon Kaen. the national context of Thai Buddhism and societal structure and the regional and local context of the research location will be introduced. I will go into the research methodology that was applied in order to get the information needed to answer the research questions. quantitative methods have been complemented by qualitative methods. 2009. As these questions have arisen from a research in North-Eastern Thailand. chapter 4 shall present the context in which the research has taken place. p. in order to do justice to the individual as a subject (ibid. I payed attention to the individual as part of a household with the emphasis remaining on the individual. this region seemed to be the right place to be looking for the answers. In this. I choose for a research population where alternatives to make choices about consumption pattern were relatively available and relevant. consumption choices and decision making will be discussed. As a final comment. So as to compare the motives with the actual choices made. This conclusion will summarize the main findings and discuss them in the light of the theoretical framework. 2 .individual get lost in the process of the analysis of the answers people give (White. in this research. the results of the research shall be pinpointed. The research questions resulting from these considerations shall be presented. followed by a conclusion in Chapter 6. In Chapter 3. together with an analytical framework that would make these questions operational for the research. the theoretical framework for this study will be sketched. In Chapter 5.). The set up of this thesis will be as followed: In chapter 2. Assuming that most people are part of a household. As a next step. considerations about the research process and implications of the research will be presented.
3)’. Therefore. p. providing a more positive and concrete goal to debates on poverty alleviation.4).2). p. namely 'having'. and doing as the activities they undertake by applying those resources (McGregor. one makes choices to come to specific functionings by evaluating one’s objectives (Sen in Nussbaum & Sen. freedom is a precondition for agency. that allow an actor to make choices with different options being provided. Instead these perceptions are seen as constituted in culture and ideology which in turn structure the material. interpreted as satisfaction with the achievement of personally important goals in one's life' (WeD. 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. but as an actor. To be more specific. 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. is guided by the culturally and socially constructed meanings. a third concept that is central to Sen's approach is freedoms. such as being adequately nourished. trying to make the best out of the choices he or she has. These may range from basic physical needs. Capabilities are the possible combinations of functionings that can a person can achieve. 1993). however. Sen thus reminds us not to see the individual as passive contemplator on his or her situation. 2007. functionings are the 'beings and doings' a person has achieved. who has been a leading figure in the theoretical discussions on well-being. In this. To make the notion of well-being more comprehensive. such as social status. I shall also illuminate the ideas of McGregor and White. 3 . There is thus an emphasis the agency of the individual to come to specific sets of functionings. 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. where human needs are met. Of course. THEORY. the WeD framework identifies three modes of being in which well-being plays. This view can also be found with White. 1993. The value that is given to various functionings depends on the context of the individual. The concept emerged as the antipole of poverty. various theories and definitions on wellbeing have been published.1). to more complex aspects. p. p. 2009. Within the last two decades. 'thinking/feeling' and 'doing'. what is a valuable state of being. 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. where one can act meaningfully to pursue one’s goals. The evaluation of what is best. individual preferences and ambitions.6). social and personal through a cascade of associations that makes them meaningful and designates some as pressing ' (White. p. p. 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. In accordance with this statement. who write in line with the 'Well-Being in Developing Countries' (WeD) framework. RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK 2. thinking and feeling as the meanings that guide them.1 Well-being 'Well-being is a state of being with others.2. Having can be understood as the resources people have. For the purpose of giving an insight into thoughts on well-being that are of relevance for this research. I will refer to Amartya Sen. Well-being is one of the central issues in theoretical debates on development. Out of the capabilities that someone has. 2006. 2007.1. and where one enjoys a satisfactory quality of life' (WeD. 2006.30). writing on subjective well-being: ‘The subjective is thus more than a random selection of individual perceptions or preferences. 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'.1 Theoretical framework 2. the WeD framework also points out to the 'cognitive aspect of subjective wellbeing.
In the following paragraph.12). 2006. as well as public and social respect contribute to the well-being of a person (White. It interacts with the material and human dimension and the three spheres jointly constitute the well-being of a person (White. but are also determinants for the state of being. conveying and transforming these meanings.. 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. This would mean that the choice for a certain product is always related to a meaning the consumer gives to that product. Warr. as well as gifts to family members and friends or donations. is based on the same concepts that have been illuminated above and depends on objective and subjective factors. I want to look at consumption as tool to come to what an individual perceives to be well-being. I will therefore expound the role of the weltanschauung as part of the underlying factors that lead to specific consumption choices and patterns. Before that. The ability to act along with cultural codes and social expectations via consumption patterns has an impact on well-being. 2008). 4 . As White points out. social interaction and hedonism as local meanings of consumption. Instead of being driven by simple human needs. p.238). 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. identifying criteria that separate basic needs from desires asks for the specific context. That can be the purchase of material goods. As Fromm pointed out. 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. social comparison. I shall elaborate on some theoretical considerations on decision making in general. the demand for particular consumptions is often culturally induced (Elliott. the realm of the symbolic comes into play as soon as a product's ability to satisfy mere physical needs is transcended (Fromm. Through certain actions and consumption patterns people construct their identity and present themselves in certain ways (ibid. In this line. The way people spend their money has social and symbolic motivations. Consumption is also used as an instrument to achieve and maintain a social position in comparison with others (ibid. for example. 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. the definition of what is basic and what is not. Generally. 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. 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. 2. By consumption I mean all actions that require the spending of a part of the income and assets of a household. 287).The social context not only plays a major role in creating. the symbolic is always part of the material (1997.23). Consumption can thus not only be seen in economic and utilitarian terms. According to Elliott. Besides. Guillen-Royo identifies the satisfaction of basic needs and household basics. It needs to be noted that the social dimension does not stand on its own. social factors do not only have an influence on the perception of well-being. p.. p. I will go into the material aspect by discussing some theories on consumption. harmonious and close social relationships.1. The meanings and motives of consumption are subjective and often even subconscious.2 Consumption choices The second notion that has to be defined is consumption. In this research. 1997. However. 287). Therefore. Later in this chapter. as well. 1976). a difference has to be made between consumption that is aimed at fulfilling basic needs and consumption that goes beyond that purpose. but also of services and participation in certain activities. 537). p. 2009. 2009). 4). p.
It is formed within the socio-cultural context of a person and needs to be understandable for others. 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. a business-woman and the community leader at the same time. One may be a mother. religion. 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. 219. On a higher level. Kennett and Matthews also shed light on the way an individual is continuously confronted with different. This logic is not only based on the way the storyline develops but also on the motives that lead to this development. Within these external structures. p. political. 5 . Many. ‘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.3 Decision making and narrative Motives to act in certain ways develop within the space between ideals and the act itself. That does not mean that a person can not have multiple identities. ethnicity. Aim of the narrative is to integrate these actions and life choices into a coherent biography (Atkins and Mackenzi. sometimes even conflicting desires out of which she has to make choices for his or her actions (in Atkins and Mackenzi. individual characteristics like educational level. 1988.).’In the paragraph below. Multiple identities are not always exclusive but can coexist along each other (Buitelaar. We care about what we are. p. gender.16). These identities have to be brought together in a relatively coherent overarching self-narrative (ibid. Not only conflicting desires make a choice for action problematic. A person and his or her household are embedded in structures like the cultural. the co-authors bring up the idea of unified agency. that unifies all of life.). 2008). 2003. various forms of capital at hand are influencing the decision making process.1. It is the way that synthesizes the total personality and provides energizing direction and order (Baker. p. the qualitative part of the research was devoted to the motives of the individual informants to make certain choices.51). That religion can play a fundamental role in this is reflected in the statement of Baker. 15. Additionally.216). infrastructural and economic situation.2.170). p. As it is impossible to cover all these aspects within this research. At the same time it has to be logical to oneself as it forms one’s identity (Mackenzi. A narrative has social and moral dimensions. As Kosegaard puts it.163). there may be conflicting desires but we just have one body to act (in Atkins & Mackenzi. 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. the individual occupies a certain position that leads to certain attitudes and actions. In an article on normative agency. I focused on the decision making process as it is perceived by the individual.220). 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.262). situationally varying factors come together and channel this decision making process. choices out of different narrative paths that could be followed and even out of different identities have to be made. that ‘[s]pirituality is the connecting force or integrating power. In the citation above. p. While getting an overview of the circumstances of the household the individual is part of through the survey. I will further go into the functions of religion. p. social. A concept that lends itself for the analyses of this decision making process from the position of the individual is the 'narrative'. p.
Geertz suggests that religion is a cultural system which helps to make sense of our perceptions by providing order and meaning (1958. p. religion and spirituality are mostly left aside (Ver Beek. 1966. as source of general. According to Kirsch Thai Buddhism plays a formative role for the individual weltanschauung. The term covers religious beliefs and ethics. 194). p. religion – as a cultural pattern .). 4). …the importance of religion lies in the capacity to serve. According to the Anthropologist Clifford Geertz..40). In contrast to the consensus among development theorists on the integration of factors like gender. Furthermore.6). p. p.can be seen as providing a ‘guideline for social and psychological processes which shape public behavior’(Geertz. 2008. the I want to link these insights with the concept of well-being. 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: . In her conceptualization of well-being. 422). I take religious beliefs and ethics as the most basic factors of a weltanschauung as religion widely informs norms and values. Viewed from that perspective.4 Religious beliefs and ethics In 2000. 1966. the self. then researchers and practitioners must recognize the importance of spirituality in peoples lives. 2000. in which he criticizes the avoidance of the topic of spirituality in development theory and practice. morality and codes of conduct. I will especially look at those aspects of morality. Order can be attained from the “world view” that is conveyed by religion while meaning can be derived from the norms and values. The concept of weltanschauung covers a wide range of aspects contributing to the perspective from which somebody looks at. Codes of conduct the translation of ideals into the social realm. 1 emphasis in the original version 6 . 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. norms and values as well as morality. 1975. and relational facets of well-being (White. seek to better understand it. subjective. Geertz’s theory seems to be suitable for the Thai context as Thai Buddhism is strongly interwoven with everyday life. and the relations between them…. interprets and judges 'reality'. Due to the centrality of religion and spirituality in peoples lives. yet distinctive conceptions of the world. the “ethos”. and to organize themselves to act on these. in turn. indigenous knowledge and social structure for the design of effective aid. 41)..1. In this research.From these cultural functions flow. that are derived from Thai Buddhism. 421. values and attitudes suggested within a religious context are transferred into nonreligious contexts (1966). 31). that is communicated through religion (ibid. its sociological and psychological ones (Geertz.2. address it openly. Sarah White (2008) mentions the importance to acknowledge the moral dimension within the material. aspirations and activities. Ver Beek published an article in Development and Practice. p.if development is truly about strengthening peoples capacity to determine their own1 values and priorities. as well as for the structure of Thai society as a whole (Kirsch in Skinner & Kirsch. these aspects should be addressed more openly and included in the considerations made about development strategies and programs. and give people the opportunity to decide how both their development and their spirituality should shape each other (Ver Beek. for an individual or for a group.
The conceptual model will illustrate the relations between these concepts. with well-being representing the most optimal state of being. Which concepts of Thai Buddhism are constitutive for the weltanschauung of. How does the conception of well-being influence the consumption choices of. 3... How is a possible dissonance between religious ethics and consumption choices handled by. Aim of a narrative is to integrate these actions and choices into a coherent and logical biography. This state of being is not well-being itself but a well-being position on the continuum from poverty to well-being. Objective and subjective subjective factors equally contribute to that state of being. Which are the main factors that are perceived to contribute to well-being for. the following sub-questions need to be clarified in reference to the sub-urban middle class of north-eastern Thailand: 1. Here. or desires. How are Thai Buddhist ethics reflected in the consumption choices of..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’. 2. as well as gifts to family members and friends or donations.3 Analytical framework and operationalization To make the theory operational. 5. important concepts will be shortly defined below... 6. which is also context specific. 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..2 Research questions Out of the theoretical considerations above.. a difference should be made between basic needs and additional needs... What is the effect of consumption choices on subjective well-being of. 2. The motive that someone uses to account for certain actions are a way to reach this coherence. Consumption All actions that require the spending of a part of the income and assets of a household.2..the sub-urban middle class of north-eastern Thailand? 2. The definition of basic needs depends of the individual context and their fulfillment enables a decent livelihood and human dignity. 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....3. 7. .. What are the basic values of Thai Buddhist ethics for. 4. Religious ethics 7 .. but also of services and participation in certain activities.. ‘doing’ and ‘feeling’. whereby the subjective van be split into importance and satisfaction. That can be the purchase of material goods.
Mostly a household is settled in the same house or set of houses. mostly connected through kinship ties. 2.2 Conceptual model well-being (importance) Decision making In line with? Consumption choices well-being (satisfaction) Buddhist ethics In line with? Individual Household community 8 . it is also possible that household members live some place else. Household Entity of social organization: people. infrastructural.3. that are pooling resources and sharing them. Context Social.Codes of conduct and attitudes that are informed by religious concepts. for example students or migrants. However. geographical circumstances. economic. cultural. political.
To get more information about gender roles and conceptions. it was of importance to tackle the three main topics. different relations between the findings could be traced by regression analysis. The sampling of the key informants was done in a quite informal. assisted by two interpreters. Also. that there was a bias towards 'having'. for example could be indicated from daily to yearly income. various research methods were used. As for the PA methods. concerning the geographical. consumption. the survey was meant to get insight in data on the household level. social and political realm that were of interest for the assessment of well-being of the households2. a community health volunteer. ethics and well-being. socio-cultural. Moreover I wanted to identify the respondents that valued luxury consumption and/or religion. A comprehensive variable with all income periods calculated into yearly income had to be constructed. it must be admitted. and some elders. The attention was hereby directed to the aspects of 'having'. income sources. comprised a range of questions on the economic.3. Some of the variables had to be modified in order to make them comparable. By getting insight in these dimensions a better understanding. While the community profile should provide information at the community level. a transect walk was done to get an impression of the scope of the community. including the relevant 2 See attachments for the topic list 9 . When it comes to the analysis of the data. Results could be presented in tables and diagrams. METHODOLOGY 3. a historical time line was drawn. assets. including a limited number of data at the individual level. Income. Relevant data from the questionnaire were on basic household characteristics. Furthermore. a general household survey was conducted. 3. 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. 'thinking' related to well-being. a resource map was gradually completed. a group of male and a group of female community members were approached to hold a focus group discussion. the housing and resources. snowball like way. However. as the scope of the community was rather small.1 Methods of data collection To access the data necessary to give answer to the research question. the survey was analyzed statistically with SPSS.1. and perception of well being. Key informants were the community leader. During an interview with two elders of the community. which was conducted by local students. In the initial phase where general information was collected. for example by frequency tables or bar charts.1 Community profile Aim of the community profiles was to get background knowledge about life in Sri Than 4. Due to the lack of existing data sources on the community. some members of the community board. 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. With the help of this program.2 Surveys The survey. the data could be arranged to be easily interpreted. a teacher. 'doing'. the information was gathered through semi-structured interviews with key informants and PA methods by a group of three dutch students.1. 3. To get more detailed information in-depth interviews were held in the course of the case studies. In the second phase. analysis and interpretation of the data from the surveys and in-depth interviews was to be reached. a community profile was made in the beginning of the research. Approaching different inhabitants. as this dimension was most easily operationalized. This approach worked surprisingly well. For an overview of Sri Than 4. demographic and infra-structural situation. After a first meeting with the community leader we asked her for experts on different topics. namely consumption. the master monk of Jom Sri temple. For this purpose I constructed a luxury consumption scale as well as a religion scale.
75.75 is indicating the internal consistency of the scale 10 . 'going to the temple'. 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. The in-depth interviews took about 50 to 90 minutes. 5 people between 35 and 50.1. 'having a personal computer'.3 Case studies In the fourth week of the project. 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. Almost all of the respondents of the sample frame were employed or had their own business. and 'fun shopping'. Because of my lacking knowledge of the Thai language I had to work with interpreters.76. I choose for this selection criterion because I was interested in the way people match their consumption choices with their ideals.items3 from the series of questions on the perception of well-being. 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 narrowed this selection in order to identify those respondents who would also give importance to religion. This was not unproblematic 3 Consumption scale: Cronbach's Alpha 0. In these personal interviews. the level of satisfaction with these choices was to be explored. A Cronbach's Alpha higher than 0. These questions were of a qualitative nature and therefore they were approached through in-depth interviews. household economics. however. These topics were: well-being. 3. For the sample. Religion scale: Cronbach's Alpha 0. Out of this frame I sampled 14 informants out of which 10 should be interviewed. I hoped to find out more about the different factors that contribute to the way people make and look at their consumption choices. having interviewed seven women and only three men. The final sample frame included 20 households in Sri Than 4 with 8 people above the age of 50. the questions that remained unanswered by the survey and the community profiles were tackled. 'having a mobile phone'. Within the guidelines there was room left to react to the personality of the informant and the atmosphere during the conversation. The religion scale comprises 'personal prayer/meditation'. In order to avoid an age bias I decided to approach three informants who had not taken part in the survey. and 7 people younger than 35. However. 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 wanted to get in contact with those respondents who showed relatively high scores on religion and consumption. I had to approach all households of the sample frame. ''having a lot of money'. I could not escape a gender bias. The reason for this was the fact that the potential informants were all working during the day except for the older informants. 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). The luxury consumption scale includes 'having a job/income'. Aside from that. Furthermore I constructed two new variables to identify the respondents who had named luxury goods or religious spending as their main or desired spendings. Moreover. 'owning a car'. Sampling the research population I planned to sample the informants out of the household survey. The level of education in the sample frame ranged from primary school drop-outs to university graduates. 'giving food and other donations to the monks' and 'attending ceremonies'. religion and decision making. In practice.
Together with his wife and children he lives in a relatively big. lives in a brick and wooden house together with her husband and her teenage daughter. I asked them to translate as literally as possible and also draw my attention to non verbal communication of the informants. In that way. Opposite to the beauty salon. lies the grocery store of Kunsee. Pituk is a 48 year old school teacher. She is a divorced mother of 3 children at the age of 10. a 46 year old woman. His children have already founded their own families. 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.as direct communication with the interviewee was impossible. He lives in the back of the store together with his wife. Furthermore. I held an interview with Payun. a 24 year old woman. 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. Her age mate. the way I put my questions had to be understood correctly by an interpreter lacking a social science background. Analysis The analysis of the information from the in-depth interviews was done in a iterative way. Again. gradually a model developed in which the central concepts were identified and structured. a 29 year old trainee at the school of cosmetics. her grandmother and sister in a relatively well furnished brick and wooden house. Sawat. interviews were compared and labels were given to the interview summaries. has a paralyzed husband. To smoothen the communication as well as possible. working at the nearby hospital. The interview was taken in front of her quite luxurious new house. an interview was held with Sommai. a 45 year old single woman. Nuk4 is a 45 year old man living in a relatively poorly appointed two-room wooden house with his family. Finally. 4 pseudonym 11 . After the conduction of ten in-depth interviews. Tong Mai is working at.2 The interviewees In this paragraph. living in a relatively good appointed house with her husband and two children. Furthermore. she sells plants and trees and flowers together with her husband. the interviewees that were approached for the in-depth interviews are shortly introduced. As a sideline income activity. Additionally I would ask the interpreter for a general evaluation of the credibility of the answers given during an interview. This is done to give an impression of the type of persons who provided a vital part of the information presented in the results. living with her sister and mother in a average size house who is working in a hotel in the center of Khon Kaen. Another interviewee. The son has already moved out She owns a restaurant at the main road where the interview took place. The two are living in a house with some of her children and grandchildren. Besides that. Another interview was conducted with Nang. 8 and 4. the interpreters had to summarize the answers and make choices about the English phrases. I briefed the interpreters about my research questions and the goals of the interviews. where the family usually sleeps at night. She is a 42 year old woman. a 60 year old woman. His neighbor. The interview was taken in front of the house on some mattresses. An interview was also held with Tong Mai. She is still living with her parents. 3. who is studying management at Khon Kaen University. well appointed house. Nantawan.
p. 1957. p. 4. 4. Theravada Buddhism. The concept of merit is the intersection of various elements of the Buddhist belief system (Kirsch in Skinner & Kirsch. 1898. On the way to salvation. but all animated life including animals.1. much less achieve’ (Kirsch in Skinner & Kirsch. 95 percent of the Thai call themselves Buddhist. p. 183). The doctrines of karma and multiple rebirth stand in the center of these aspirations (ibid. The other way round. spirits and gods (ibid. p.38)’. p. an investigation of Buddhist values and beliefs can broaden our understanding of the general patterns in Thai society (in Skinner & Kirsch. 180). Merit making is not just one out of many practices in Thai Buddhism. 1975. 274)’. p. p. 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. while the former notion of merit making is more related to the implementation of morality in daily life (Mulder 1978. In this I will concretize my descriptions by referring to the context of the research location. 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. Therefore most Thai Buddhists strive for intermediate goals that are more likely to be reached. one has to understand Thai Buddhist ideas about merit making. This is why I will set out to delineate Theravada Buddhism first before turning to Thai social order and interaction.179). 1975. 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’. Popular merit making is especially acted out in institutionalized Buddhist rituals. p. The path towards deliverance from this world is characterized by cycle of rebirths. the concept of sufficiency economy. Not only human beings are perceived to be in this ‘sacred hierarchy’.4. 1978. a context has to be sketched within which the research has been conducted. Hinduism.1 Multiple rebirth and karma ‘Nirvana. THE REASERACH LOCATION AND IT’S NATIONAL CONTEXT Before turning to the results of the research.181).. p. there are still ways to give influence the course of one’s present life. Young. The lives are stages on the way to Nirvana. Animism and other influences come together in Thai popular religious belief and practice. p. 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. ‘salvation is not a gift but a task (1978. As Kirsch suggests. Although in the literature it is generally referred to as syncretism. 180). ensuring safety and auspiciousness in the present life (Mulder. ‘bad’ acts will lead to an deterioration of one’s karma which could result in rebirth at a lower level of the ‘sacred hierarchy’..38). 38). I will recognize this denomination and from now on refer to this religious and spiritual topics as Thai Buddhism. 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. p. 177). is very abstract and distant and difficult for anyone to aspire to. p. it is in the hands of the individual whether he or she will go forward or backward. 180).. In order to understand the concept of karma. Popular merit making practices are aimed at short term rewards.180)’. the formal goal of Buddhism has often been characterized as otherworldly… Nirvana. and various levels of Thai societal structure. As Mulder put it. The individual 12 . demons. I will elaborate on Thai Buddhism.The groundwork for one’s destiny have been laid by the merits and demerits accumulated in one’s previous life (Kirsch in Skinner & Kirsch. Nevertheless. [shortly defined as the escape from this world]. whereby one strives to reach a higher level in the next life and come closer to Nirvana as a consequence (ibid. 1975. 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.1.
2007).2 Thai Buddhist attitudes towards material wealth Luxury consumption does not go along with the teachings of Buddhism. People just want more and more and can not control themselves. However. two very obvious believes concerned with this topic could be found. Her statue can be seen in most of the shops and houses. Furthermore. a differentiation can be made between the materialistic desire that is is aimed to be satisfied through the maximization of consumption. that these three ‘poisons’ result in the ‘endless vicious circle of frustrated pursuit of happiness from material things’ (Warr.d. and the desire for quality of life.d) The perception that happiness can be derived from material wealth results in greed. When asked. In Sri Than 4. hatred and ignorance are central to the Buddhist world view (Warr. offer flowers and sweet drinks so that she will attract prosperity. 1174). n. Naang Kwak (literally: 'Lady Come') is described as a sort of goddess or angel that is believed to bring economic success and wealth. Coming forward with the concept 13 .).) Warr explains. independent and inherent entity (Warr.d.2 Sufficiency economy Sufficiency economy is a concept. Sufficiency is also the guideline of the economic philosophy introduced by the present King of Thailand. In the next paragraph I shall further explain this ideology. brought forward by king Bhumipol (Warr. n. the informants would assure the positive effects of this practices. the year of the Asian economic crises that hit Thailand’s economy badly after a long period of economic boom (Warr. 2007). According to Buddhist notions. 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. 2005. Furthermore. He stands for wealth and prosperity. 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. During the boom. 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. 2007). 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.1. n. 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. 2007). In Buddhist terms. Kirsch even states that otherworldly focus of Buddhism generally discourages attempts at economic achievement (in Skinner & Kirsch. Business men and women among the interviewees would have a statue in their shops so as to attract clients. Thai Buddhists are considered about avoiding extremes. too. which is tied to the principle of sufficiency (Prayukvong. 1975. n. In Thai Buddhism. 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). the idea of the ‘middle way’ is widely applied. Thoughts about suffering as a result of greed.is seen as responsible for his or her present life situation and the shape his or her life will take in the future. the crises can be interpreted as the result of the destructive effects of greed and ignorance (Warr. also when it comes to the importance of material wealth. Jom Sri temple of Sri Than has a enormous statue of a sitting Buddha with a big belly. 4. Again. p. which in turn spark anger. As the statement of the master monk of Jom Sri temple in Sri Than shows. 4. and people come to pray and pay respect in front of the statue in the hope of his assistance on the economic realm. The ‘middle way’ ideology is applicable to every situation in life. in Buddhist notions. Referring back to the teachings of Buddha. the Buddhist notion of ignorance is a result of the misconception of the self as an isolated. It was first mentioned in his annual speeches in the 1970s but put central to his speech in 1997.d). 177). People pay respect to her. luxury consumption is generally not highly valued but accepted if it happens under the condition of self-sufficiency. wisdom and compassion are the characteristics that should be aspired (Warr.
181). 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. There is a strong social hierarchy that assigns clear rights and obligations to a person occupying a certain position within that hierarchy. The region is historically perceived as lying at the periphery of the country. 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). who are. more important matters. 11). the ‘knowledge’ term draws our attention to the importance of nonmaterial aspects of life. In addition. can lead to the Buddhist concept of suffering. The former village 14 . He rather argued that an excessive emphasis economic growth or material wealth at the expense of other. Erik Cohen identifies a horizontal and a vertical dimension of Thai social order (1991. 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. 4. 'Nation.2 Sri Than 4 Sri Than 4 is a urban community that is part of Khon Kaen municipality. the individual is not bound to a certain position within that hierarchy (ibid. as well as for the inhabitants of that region. The concept of moderation can be defined by a call to ‘sensible material aspirations’(Warr. In this. In his major speech on Sufficiency Economy.4. ‘resilience’. through the accumulation of merit. such as education. There have been various efforts to incorporate the region more closely into Thai society and economy (Cohen. a university was established there. p. not only geographically. 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. away from pure agricultural activities. ‘self-reliance’. the king did not denunciate economic growth in general.at the beginning of an economically disastrous period for Thailand. which has grown to be one of the largest campuses of Thailand. king Bhumipol identifies five major themes of the philosophy. Resilience asks for the avoidance of excessive risk during these aspirations. Finally. communal and national level. All this was meant to diversify the income opportunities. according to the Buddhist world view.1 The North East (Isan) Isan is the name for the north-eastern region of Thailand. emphasized the differences between the north-east and the 'rest' and created a consciousness of separate regional identity (ibid. 27-30 & 37-39). However. arts and spirituality. or economically.3 Thai societal structure Two essential elements that shape Thai society have already been mentioned: Buddhism and Monarchy.). as well. ‘inner dynamic’ and ‘knowledge’. p. Inner dynamic points out to the importance to be concerned about the protection of others. 1991). p. 4. These efforts however. 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. 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. Social rigidity and individual freedom can be combined in that way.4 The research location 4. who make up one third of the population of Thailand. In this paragraph I will not further dwell on the Thai monarchy or the Thai nationality but on the structure of Thai social order. This achievement can be reached spiritually.4. socially or politically through personal characteristics such as diligence. He or she can move between positions through achievement. However. The concept of self-reliance postulates economic independence and can be translated to the individual and the national level. namely ‘moderation’. but also economically and socially. 2007). King Bhumipol tried to restore a mentality of sufficiency and constraint as a method to cope with the crises on an individual. 4. linked with us. In this line.).
52 20 having the freedom to express your political opinion 7.1.55 2 having good relations with your family 9.82 18 being respected in your community 7.18 7 being healthy 9.22 25 having free time 7 26 owning a mobile phone 6. 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.86 10 having a job/income 8. consumption choices will be taken up.53 3 having children educated at high school / university 9.1 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.21 6 having good children 9.45 21 owning a car 7.68 92.82 31 having access to the internet 4. many households have a sideline source of income in the form of a small grocery store.55 11 being able to vote 8. health and education The general survey has revealed trends about the importance that 15 . The change in economic activities has brought about increasing wealth among the households. this time in the light of Buddhist ethics and well-being. regarding well-being. I will simultaneously compare these subjective perspectives on wellbeing with the possessions and actions of the inhabitants of the community.86 97 27 engaging in politics 6. These are statements about the importance of certain dimensions of well-being. In the final section.of Sri Than has gradually become part of the expanding city of Khon Kaen. Historically relying on subsistence farming.18 14 having a partner 8. who mostly describe themselves as belonging to the middle class. To get a complete picture of the well-being situation in Sri Than 4.5 16 having children 8.32 23 attending ceremonies 7. assets and consumption.18 15 having a TV 8.23 24 personal prayer/meditation 7. Perception well-being: importance on a range from 0-10 Owned by % of HH 1 health of people close to you 9. later into four separate communities. or a stall at the communal night market.44 12 owning land 8. the results from the survey and the in-depth interviews will be presented. 5. Secondly. In the course of Thai decentralization politics of the administrative entities.8 13 giving food and other donations to monks 8.15 98. as well as the satisfaction with one’s position within these dimensions.91 53 30 fun shopping 5.03 17 learning new things 7. Khon Kaen had been divided into two.35 5 having a decent home 9.44 4 being safe 9. important concepts of Thai Buddhist ethics will be illuminated in third section.3 29 having a personal computer 5.79 28 owning a motorcycle 6. consumption and Buddhist ethics in Sri Than 4 In the following chapter. Next to these formal income activities.26 84.98 Table 1: Perceived importance of different items for well-being (1-10) and the percentage of households owning these items 5.61 19 going to the temple 7. 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). 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.15 8 being able to take care of your family 9 9 having a lot of money 8. In the chapter that follows. First I will go into the factors that have shown to be important for the well-being among inhabitants in Sri Than 4.44 53 22 meeting friends 7. 5. the material assets and other purchases will be described.1 Family relations. a street restaurant. In order to understand how inhabitants of Sri Than 4 come to their specific consumption choices. RESULTS: Well-being.
Table 1 shows an order of the importance certain topics have for the well-being of inhabitants of Sri Than 4. education arises as one of the most frequently named expenditures. she is supported by her parents but she is planning to get a good job after her graduation. food and decent housing The physical environment plays a major role for the well-being of the community members. the health of household and family members was a bigger concern to individuals than their own health. nonetheless. The willingness of the children to strive education 13. Many 1 housing 33. she wants to support her parents financially and be able to take care of them when they get old. complete.6 Education towards a successful completion of their education other: 13.5 electricity succeed.1 15. which got a high score. whereby the emotional impact was generally ranked higher than the financial one.7 18.3 education Religious spending 12.6 7.3 food informants had children who were still being food 22. makes her happy and is a big contributor to her mental health. Education In the ranking of actual spendings (Table 3).3 10.6 6.9 insurance insurance 14. Also in the in-depth interviews.6 repaying debts was a concern to their parents. the importance of family Rank Desired items of additional spending actual spending ties as a tool for financial security reemerges. the 24 year old student. is still living with her parents. Nang.4 education Two interviewees who were still about to complete health 10. 5. Health When it comes to the topic of health. 39 percent of the households that were surveyed reported a case of serious illness of one or more household members. In this. Table 3 also shows that many households would like to spend more on education.2 Safety. if they had more money at hand.3 clothing who supported them at the moment. talking to her parents as often as possible. At the moment.8 luxury goods support their parents and other close relatives.5 repaying debts Table 2: % of households ranking their actual/desired expenditures 63.3 toiletries 3 education 18.8 10.8 electricity their education stated that it was their duty to food 12. education 15. Good education for the young family members was considered as one of the most crucial preconditions for a 'happy life'. That way. investing in them. They had the feeling that they owed those health 2. but also the emotional stress that goes along with it. where informants stated that they would like to save more money for the education of their children. She reported that spending time with her family. unite and peaceful family is important to the well-being of the informants.1 36.4 12. happy life was defined by the ability to get a permanent and well paid job that will lead to Items of financial stability.4 Food because they hope to benefit from it in the future.6 7. A good health education would help them and their future nuclear debts 10.6 16 .1. The family was also seen as providing practical assistance in taking care of the children. safety and decent housing were given a high score in the ranking (table 1).is attached to certain issues with respect to well-being. An explanation for this is the financial burden that illness brings to a household.4 7.7 health food: 9. the health of people close to the respondents and the education of the children.2 18. Within this topic. such as good relations with the family. The reason for this was the function of the family as emotional and financial backup.8 food families to cover their needs and enable them to food 10.1 6. 4 health 15.6 10. The most significant contributors to well-being are related to the immediate social environment. Here.6 22. This is also reflected in the in-depth interviews.7 electricity educated.6 7. also 2 luxury goods 15. Family relations The in-depth interviews affirmed that family relations are highly valued.2 9. the high ranking from the survey was also confirmed in the interviews. A happy. Apparently.
An examination of table 3 shows that food is one of the most important purchases that is made by households is Sri Than 4. it already became visible that financial stability is a concern that emerges in almost every domain of life. would be housing (table 3).1 car/truck 53 PC 53 telephone 50 air conditioner 25. Money was seen as the tool to realize various aspirations and have a comfortable life. Be it a higher educational level for oneself or one's offspring.4 Assets and luxury goods While social factors are predominant among the highest rated contributors to well-being. the first thing to invest in if they had more money. personal computers and motorcycles.5 mobile phone 97 refrigerator 95. it makes her proud to talk about the way she managed to afford the education of her children. Majority of the materialistic items5 in this topic list are correlating. food was a basic need that has unanimously been given a high importance for well-being by the interviewees. the chance to improve one's business.decent housing conditions revealed to be an important factor for well-being. It is not an aim on it's own.1. A majority of the informants drew self-respect and respect from community members out of the ability to take care. 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. on the other hand.2 machine bicycle 62. namely 'being able to take care of the family' (table 1). also carries a subjective dimension. the respondents rate their satisfaction with their diet with a 7. Also in the ranking for desired expenditures. In addition. 5. as they report to be unsatisfied with their housing conditions and for 33. money and a job were thus among the first factors that where named as basic requirements for well-being.3 radio/cassette CD 83. 8 percent of the population.8 Table 3: percentage of households owning certain assets Marked in grey (tabel 1) Cronbach's alpha of 0.3 percent. When compared with the scores that were given to other items.1 out of 10. five out of the six lowest rated factors can be counted to the material dimension. and even respect from others.3 The material basis In the previous section. For 25. it becomes clear that the respondents perceive materialistic factors to be among the least important contributors to well-being. 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.86 17 . for another 22. When checking the percentage of households owning a certain asset against the importance the 5 6 TV 98. I can do anything without having to work hard. which made it possible to construct a scale6 that summarizes the importance of material factors for well-being with a mean score of 7. most of which are commonly found in households in Sri Than 4. Five of them. 63.' The ability to take care of the family. food reaches the second rank of actual spending. The ability to buy anything one needs without having to struggle for it was perceived as an important element of happy life. where they are part of the scale for materialistic well-being. here marked in grey.8 percent of the respondents report to spend most of their households income on food. In the in-depth interviews. Nang.1. As Nuk explains: 'Money enables me to lead a happy life and have a happy family. some technical products are listed. Seen in from this perspective. this requirement is not met. When I have money. can also be found in table 1. In addition to safety and housing.2 washing 71.3 gas stove 83. emphasized the respect that she would gain if she supported her parents in the future.19 out of 10. In table 2. Generally.5 motorcycle 92. Nantawan stated that it is a 'good feeling' to be able to take care of her disabled husband.7 percent. but rather connected to the fulfillment of basic and additional needs. however. The informants agreed on the relation between happiness and money.3 video 74. 5. food is often mentioned. The include properties as mobile phones. convenience in daily life.
More than 90 percent. As the graphic on the left shows. However. 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. In that connection. people in less wealthy positions. 5. 28. While the qualitative interviews revealed a general fear of getting indebted. Buying luxury goods was also seen as a leisure activity. the respondents in the survey hardly indicated doubts about not being able to pay back. 18 .5 Debts and investments The survey has revealed that 54. At this. for instance. In the ranking of actual and desired spending on different goods. People who have more money at hand to spend on luxury have shown to attach a higher value to consumption. Finally. At the same time. most of the income is spent on.9% see the need to invest into their housing and 11. whereas another 11.1% purchase luxury goods by taking up loans. A significant correlation can be noticed between the perception of relative wealth and the importance given to consumption.1. 27. seem to give less significance to luxury consumption. but also the effect of new clothes. being afraid not to be able to pay back the loan. The survey confirms that age has a significant influence on the importance that is given to luxury consumption. especially among the younger population. the hight of debts does not seem to be correlating with the hight of the total yearly income that somebody has. 13. medical expenses are named by 5. Taking up a loan.6% of the respondents with debts. if they had a higher income. buying clothes was related to well-being by three of the younger female respondents. these two items are among the lowest valued for well-being.respondents attribute to it. To name the most popular reasons to take up a loan. For 27. of luxury consumption (y-axis) In the survey.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. Half of the respondents ranked their households wealth to be average. ‘luxury goods’ are rarely among the four items. They stated that not only the act of shopping would bring relaxation.3 percent of the respondents. Only one respondent was not sure whether he will be able to pay back the debt. The survey shows that a higher importance of consumption goes along with a higher total yearly income. The purpose of the loan varies. the importance of religion does not influence whether somebody gets indebted or not. respondents where also asked to indicate their wealth level in comparison to other community members. Only 13. the other 35 indebted respondents were sure about their ability to pay. own a mobile phone and a motorcycle. 25% daily expenses. there does not seem to be a direct link.5% of the respondents are indebted.1 get indebted for educational reasons. often has to do with lack of satisfaction with the current economic situation. In the interviews. as they would make them look good and make them be respected as a consequence.8 % of those indebted name agricultural purposes.6 percent of the inhabitants name luxury goods in this respect. luxury goods are among the four items they would spend money on.
1. Some informants also related a feeling of proud and gladness with the improvement of their job or business. length of stay in the community. these activities are given 7. In addition. grocery stores. 5. consumptions related to religion were hardly among the four highest ranked expenditures. 13. Two young informants stated that they have not yet achieved any of their goals. In order to be respected. if they had more money. 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. 5. concerns the relation between income and religiosity.1. 'attending ceremonies' and 'personal prayer/meditation' are positively correlating. When a person can fulfill the characteristics of a 'good person' and follow the Buddhist morals.1. he or she will be respected and admired.6 percent of the inhabitants of Sri Than 4 are spending money on religious activities and goods. religiousness. 28. were already very proud with their achievements. When asked about the reason for these goals. the decline in participation in religious activities among the younger population was lamented several times. The individuals position in the community is derived from age. A tendency that can be interpreted from the survey. However. 'Giving food and other donations to the monks'. the ability to help other family members was widely valued. size of family. Together. own house and assets made the informants proud. Material achievements as own land. as has been explained above. Several others.. income and job position. active engagement in community activities. who already had a business strived to improve the business.7 The community In the in-depth interviews. generosity. informants did not only refer to their household and family members. 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. they named more convenience in daily life and financial independence. Friends and neighbors from the community were mentioned as practical and emotional backup and as social contacts for leisure activities.1. The awareness of having achieved something in life seems to be important. The higher the income. Again. the lesser the significance given to the role of religion for well-being. but also to the community as a whole. Also. In opposition to these opinions. Being a good example increases one's self esteem and satisfaction with the present life situation. With a rising level of the household income the score of the religion scale would decline. especially not in high amounts.6 Spiritual well-being and religious spending Table 1 also contains four items that can be defied as religious activities. In this way being a role model for others increases the subjective well-being. but still lower than the average score of the items in table 1. possible leadership functions. informants tried to be a good example in the community. 'going to the temple'.Everyone named future plans that should either help their lives to be more comfortable or themselves to be more respected.8 percent would like to include religious spending into the four most important expenditures. Others. mostly restaurants. or renting out apartments. but also as customers of one's business. Also a job sustaining the family was seen as crucial achievement. especially older informants. 5. A majority of the informants wanted to set up their own business. This score is higher than that for the material scale with an average of 7.8 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. In the in-depth interviews. no significant correlation between age and the perceived significance of religion for well-being could be found in the data from the survey.5 out of 10 with respect to their importance for well-being. 19 .
The notion of sufficiency was a topic widely recurring in the interviews. 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. decisions and reasoning can not be understood without referring to the cultural context of a person. Principles that were named as being led by the philosophy were the avoidance of overspending and the re-use of old things. Alcohol was commonly referred to as a big problem. 5. as promoted by king Bhumipol was widely known to the informants. for example. Sawat. not committing adultery. the attitudes and behavior will simultaneously be described here. is not satisfied with her present situation. It was very common to see people. Here most interviewees admitted that they enjoy drinking alcohol with friends. he enjoys drinking and flirting with other women occasionally. however.2. as the informants seemed to bring it in line with their own situations. One of them lies within the individual. Mostly. like clothes. since they could not think of things that were really 'necessary' at the moment. this section will focus on some important Buddhist notions that influence the world view. the response was to save the money. a differentiation can be made between different aspects connected to the notion of sufficiency. The commandment of ‘not lying’. not drinking. not stealing. especially men. Being sufficient requires the ability to distinguish between the necessary and the unnecessary things in life. the 24 year old university student.2 Weltanschauung. the morals where directly mentioned while at several instances they were reflected in statements on ideal and actual behavior. The definition of sufficiency economy seemed to be quite flexible. Buddhist ethics and ideal behavior Actions. The morals were summed up as the commandments of not killing. a 45 year old man. This could also be observed while staying in the community. When asked about the definition however. was reflected in terms like ‘honesty’ and ‘sincerity’ and ‘trustworthiness’ as characteristics of a good person. namely the need to be satisfied with one’s present situation and the means one has at hand to shape the future. In the in-depth interviews. In this. But. put a lot of pressure on her to work hard and improve her business. The majority of the informants was quite confident about their ability to keep the commandments with the exception of drinking alcohol. She feels poor and wants to reach a better wealth level in the future. people associated drinking alcohol with relaxation and and social contacts. These future plans. also associates drinking alcohol with spending time with her friends which is a kind of relaxation to her and makes her happy. an urge which was seen as a constraint to happiness as it stems from a situation in which one is not satisfied. Informants were asked what they would like to purchase if they had two times their current income.2. In this case it was not possible for the informants to fulfill the requirements while living in a sub-urban area.5. The informants believe that following Buddhist ethics will help them to be a ‘good person’ who is respected or even admired by others. In a few cases agricultural self-sufficiency was mentioned as a more pure form of sufficiency economy. stated that he tries to be a good example for his family and neighbors. They may even function as a good example within the household and the community as a whole. However. At least once during the interviews. sit together and drink the local white whiskey or beer. The saved money should 20 . informants closely linked their behavior to the ideals they mentioned. the interviewees fell back on general ideas of sufficiency as mentioned above. Nang. Being satisfied was also seen as the precondition for the avoidance of 'struggling for more'.2 Sufficiency The philosophy of Sufficiency Economy. He explains this by a need to participate in social life and make friends. Thus. the 46 year old mother and restaurant owner. A crucial element in the ethics of the informants were the five Buddhist morals which were named by almost all informants. for example.1 The five Buddhist morals Buddhism is generally seen as a guide to a ‘happy’. on the other hand. 5. not lying. In that line. Nuk. as a second aspect. ‘peaceful’ peaceful life and a better after life. keeping the Buddhist commandments. ideals and behavioral norms of the inhabitants of Sri Than 4.
Of course the interpretation of the terms ‘necessary’ and ‘unnecessary’ can be shaped individually.work as a buffer in times of bad health of one of the family members. As a consequence. A more informal way of making merit has to do with the incorporation of Buddhist ethics in everyday life. 9.1% of the respondents sustain friends financially. conduct. In the section on well-being. Freeing animals as birds or fish was another way of making merit. The most obvious one was financial support and material help. This can also be seen as a reason why informants are anxious not to affect others negatively by their own actions. as well as the next life. failure to complete one's education or inability to sustain the family. it is also crucial to avoid 'bad' behavior. This is mostly done in cases that others may be in a weak position which makes them dependent on assistance. 5. Generally the informants believe that the nature of their actions. 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. Thai Buddhism provides a range of options to increase one’s merit.8% of the respondents seem to transfer money to family members or relatives who are not part of the household. Donating food to the monks was also widely mentioned. most informants also emphasized the short term impacts of it. 21 . Informants found it important to be a good example for others. giving advice to others on topics like health. It is also possible to transfer merit to others. friends or the community through problems one is responsible for should be avoided. this life. gods or spirits. Thoughts around karma encompass the previous life. will be reflected in the way their future is shaped. On household level. The informants emphasized the importance to omit harming others or extending one’s problems to others. As an informant stated during the interview: ‘It is not necessary to go to the temple to make merit. The survey showed that 34.3 Karma and merit The notion of karma recurs in all interviews. It has to be noted that these practices (except for prayer and meditation) do not have to be aimed at gaining merit for oneself. Merit making is primarily aimed at a good afterlife. These practices always deal with the impact of one’s action on others. cloths or food to monks. shortly summarized as ‘doing good’. moral support was also named. Not causing trouble for others seems to be one of the most important characteristics of a 'good' person. I shortly alluded to the importance of these practices. You can also make merit in everyday life by giving clothes to the poor and candy to children’.1. sick. While the focus lies on good behavior. Through merit making. Then. illness. investment in the own business and education of the younger family members. One’s present circumstances have mainly been predetermined by the sum of good and bad deeds in the previous life. Through good behavior and actions in daily life. mercy and generosity were values that were often brought in relation to every day merit making acted out through donating money. Some informants name it directly. to wit good or bad. The informants most frequently named practices as paying respect and bringing offerings to Buddha. poor or deceased people as well as people facing major of minor critical life events. while others explain the concept without giving a name to it. these problems could be unemployment. Activities that were named in relation to daily merit making were particularly those that would benefit others. an exam or a job interview. merit can be accumulated. Some of these codes of conduct have already been mentioned in relation to the Buddhist morals. all informants were more elaborate on the implementation of ideal behavior in daily life than on institutionalized forms of merit making. It can be thought of children or elderly. such as birth. As a matter of fact. In case of the latter. However. marriage. ideal ways of life. Finally the interviewees expected to gain merit from prayer and meditation. Burdening family members. poor people and family members in need. Another informant put that good behavior in daily life is more important than going to the temple. 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. the interviewees believe to be able to improve their future destiny.
However. determined on how much merit they were able to accumulate in their previous life. honesty and diligence. Moreover. Through merit making. 1991. I hope to answer the sub questions of this research. informants stated that they should be and were happy and satisfied with their standard of living and the consumption choices they had. Helping others on a spiritual way was also common. writing about Thai social structure. Almost all of the informants wished for a better job.Besides. whatever the type. The higher socio-economic status of others can be explained by their good previous life. 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. as I have mentioned above.37) as they can alter their position within the social hierarchy through the accumulation of merit. munificence and compassion. also offered her advice on health issues to community members. A majority of the informants had the idea that they could live along the lines of the King’s Sufficiency Economy. It increases their hope for a better future. Sufficiency also asks for a moderation of aspirations and the avoidance of harming others by one’s actions. Payun. p. the informants get the feeling of having an influence on their destiny and the destiny of people they care about. In that way. 6. Some informants even noted that the tangible effects of merit making are subordinate to the comforting and encouraging feeling it entails. she saw herself as a role model because she had a harmonious family and considered herself to be a ‘good’ wife and mother. Cohen. Merit is accumulated through regular religious activities and ‘doing good’ in everyday life. the 60 year old nurse. it means that they have done so many good things in their previous life’. In the interviews. In this. She made them aware of bad habits that would detriment their health. In addition. the concept of karma helps to accept inequalities and shocks. As an informant stated: ‘ If people have good luck and a better position than us. argues that from the Thai weltanschauung all beings are potentially equal (Cohen. Making merit in this life will help to influence their destiny in positive ways and secure a better afterlife. First. 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. Praying for others and transferring merit to others were said to be done on a daily basis. a higher income. Sri Thanians believe that their fate is dependent on their karma. 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. 6. Many informants were even indebted for bigger investments. This was also reflected 22 . as Geertz had also suggested. before discussing them in relation to the theory. 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. preventing others from doing ‘bad’ things that could have a negative impact on others and on their karma was named several times. I will summarize and interpret the findings from the information gained in the local context. The overarching concepts of Thai Buddhism that could be identified during the research were karma and multiple rebirth. which lead to the answer of the main question. 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. They had future plans for investments and wanted their children to live a better life.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. A discrepancy could thus be noted between the ideals of sufficiency and the actual behavior and attitudes towards material wealth. 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.
A higher socio-economic status would. however. In the interviews. 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. there is another aspect to this notion. reflect a good character. These products are more familiar with the younger generations. Harmonious family relations were the first condition for well-being to be mentioned.in this research. 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. happiness and respect to the purchase of goods that were not seen as a basic need. But. What was conspicuous that consumption choices where overly named in relation to the family or the household. such as mobile phones. One may conclude that these informants might have tended to give answers which are socially desirable. these statements. First of all. The research has shown that striving for higher income is not justified by the need of more luxury or comfort. a higher income. striving for a better job. As age and achievements in family life are playing a big role for social status. This was the case with almost all basic aspects of well-being. It is explained by the need to support others and do good. education. In that line. the younger generations may have to rely more on the material dimension to be respected. 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. It can be stated that people are trying to embed their consumption choices into the values and concepts that are provided by Thai Buddhism. whether saving money for education. Older informants derived more well-being from the social status they had attained in the community. The question is. a tool to shape their future and that of the people they care about. In this. and safety. 6. the close the next life comes. Here. For an outsider. This attitude is informed by Buddhist ethics and the Thai King’s philosophy of Sufficiency Economy. in the Buddhist weltanschauung. but also in the next life. definitions of 23 . motorcycles and cars. the Buddhist values of compassion and munificence can be traced. the concern about one’s well-being is thus not limited to the present and the future in this life. In the Buddhist world view. and being perceived as such by others. emphasizing those aspects that are best matched with their situations. as they have grown up with them. The survey revealed that the importance that is given to material luxury is more present among the younger population. This is conflicting with the principles of sufficiency that encourages to be satisfied and discourage the desire to have more than what is needed. however. The older somebody gets. 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. In addition. Both achievements within the social and the material dimension are believed to reflect one’s karma. televisions and personal computers. as informants often stated that merit making gave them a feeling of agency.2 Unifying different desires and motives for well-being There were thus two statements that almost all informants made in the in-depth interviews. when asked directly. an exemplary family life and more respect in the community may be connected with the wish for an affirmation of being a good person. are technical products. improvement of one's business. Basic material needs that were mostly named were food and decent housing for the family. when learning more about the notion of sufficiency. are not consistent with people’s tendency wanting to improve their situation. even through taking up loans. Majority alluded to health and education of family members as basic human needs. Therefore. a new car or a new house are presented as being a necessity. most of the informants look at their consumption choices as motivated by Buddhist ethics and therefore as matching with these norms and values. and thus the perceived need to improve one’s karma increases with a higher age. younger informants attributed leisure. purchases and planned investments.
such as compassion. It could be stated. munificence.certain concepts may also be shaped according to the own situation that makes the own actions logical and contributes to a coherent self-narrative. It was obvious that the value of these functionings was widely based on Buddhist ethics and the weltanschauung that Buddhist concepts inform. Thus. This is also in line with the WeD framework. with money as the basis.170). In this. They saw themselves as good Buddhists. as Atkins and Mackenzie suggest. they could reach different valuable functionings. the higher the satisfaction with her life. within which meaningful action is acknowledged to be a part of well-being. but also to their families’ well-being. In this. 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. p. Sri Thanians are looking at their purchases as a necessity that would contribute not only to their own well-being. The concept of narrative makes this idea palpable. not only the individual perception but also the social environment plays a role. 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. p. Secondly. and generosity.15). that. as was also stated by Mackenzie (in Atkins& Mackenzie. the ‘narrative’ about consumption choices had a social and a moral dimension. the interviewees were quite confident about their ability to act according to the Buddhist ethics. The motivations of for their consumption choices were brought in line with these ethics. Via consumption. actions were justified through their motives and underlying values in order to come to motivational integrity (Atkins&Mackenzie. 24 . Making sense of one’s actions contributes to the subjective well-being of a person. 2008. as it is called by Sen. The more a person is able to smoothly integrate into the socio-cultural environment. value was also given to the way one’s actions and consumption choices are judged in the wider social context. following the five Buddhist morals and other behavioral norms.
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please state the main reason .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. 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. B) Fullname = please write down in English. Give each member a 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.
fill in this Form B1.. If none of the household members live outside the house or has been doing that before. For each of these persons. PID Length Year start Current/last Reason for Send/ bring Spending Send/ bring Kind of goods . specify how many years completed…. 01 For economic reasons 02 Other reason. permanently (=more than 9 months last year) 02 Yes. 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. continue with Form B2.01 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. 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.
g. 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) .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.
C) When did this person leave the house for the first time? In what year? D) Place of migration. Example 2: Does this person works oversees and has been doing that for 7 months up to now. . or . the answer is 24. the answer is 7.where they were last time.in case of returned migrant . Example 3: If a person has been working oversees for 2 years but returned 3 months ago.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.
01 Shack 04 Brick/ concrete house (two floors) .1 What type of house does this household live in? Instruction: answer by own observation. column F)? If no. please ask when they came to the current village/city and why they moved there. For those born outside the place of residence. or the person came a few years ago in search for a job). 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. Form C: Housing C.Form B2: Migrated Household members Data Instruction: Are any household members born outside the current place of residence (see form A. continue with Form C If yes. fill in Form B2 for each person that was born outside the current community. (maybe the person arrived at the age of 2 when the parents migrated.
C.02 Wooden house 03 Brick/ concrete house (one floor) 05 Brick/ wooden house 06 Appartment 07 Other (specify) C.4 Does the dwelling have electricity? 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know C..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. specify………………. specify…………….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. 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.3 Does the household own the land on which the dwelling is built? 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know C.7 What is the main source of fuel for cooking? 01 Electricitry .
) 05 Charcoal 06 Agricultural residue (e.4) 03 Don't want to tell (continue to question D.g.2 How many pieces of land do you use/own? D.. leaves & twigs.8 How many bedrooms + living rooms does the house have? C. etc. stalk.02 Petroleum products 03 Bottled gas / gas tank 04 Firewood (wood. specify……………… C. chaff) 07 Other.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.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) D.1 Do you own/use land? 01 Yes 02 No (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.
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. specify D.1 What are the income sources of your household? . Owned 01 Cow 02 Buffalo 03 Chicken 04 Duck 05 Pig 06 Other (specify) D.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 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.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. specify used: 01 Rain water 02 Underground water pump 03 Pumped pond water 04 Public canals 05 None 06 Other.
5=neutral. 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. 10= completely satisfied) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Form F: Debts/savings F.labour 03 Non-agricultural activities . specify Yes/ no B Amount (Baht) C Period D Form E1 Codes (B) Income source? 01 Yes.Type of income source A 01 Agricultural activities .own business 04 Non-agricultural activities .own business 02 Agricultural activities .2) 03 Don't want to tell/ don't know (continue to question F.1 Does your household currently have any debts? 01 Yes 02 No (continue to question F.2 How satisfied are you with the household income? (0=completely dissatisfied.2) To whom/ where A No 1 2 Amount (Baht) B Purpose C How pay back D Able to pay back E .labour 05 Pension 06 Remittances 07 Other.
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 .
specify in Bath (weight) Bath (weight): 02 No 03 Don't want to tell/ don't know F.3 Does your household have any money savings? 01 Yes. specify in Baht Baht: 02 No 03 Don't want to tell/ don't know .2 Do the household members have any gold? 01 Yes.F.
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 . 5=neutral.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.2 Please indentify your level of satisfaction with your household's food consumption during the different seasons. G. etc.Form G: Consumption G. ice cream. (0=completely dissatisfied.
(Let the respondent rank. Note 1 for the first.3 In the past 12 months. specify . did anyone in the household send money or goods to relatives or friends outside the household? If yes. 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. most important item. 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. ceremonies) 13 Repaying debts 14 Other. 2 for the second.4 On which items does your household spend most money? Number the 4 most important items.G. how much? If goods.
10=very large impact) Kind of shock Yes/No Impact on daily life . specify Form H: Shocks H1. ceremonies) 13 Repaying debts 14 Other. 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. 5=neutral. Note 1 for the first. 2 for the second.5 If your household had more money on which four goods would you like to spend more money? (Let the respondent rank.1 We would like to learn more about shocks: unexpected events that have a negative influence on your household e. most important item.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 . Did one of the following shock occur to your household in the past 5 years? (0=no impact.g.G. a failed crop.economically Impact on daily life ..
Don't know / N. 5=neutral.3 How satisfied are you with the following health facilities? (scale 0-10) (0=very dissatisfied.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. 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.2 Does a household member suffer from a major disability? 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know/ want to tell I. . Don't know / N.A.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.5 If yes.A.1 Does a household member suffer from chronic ill health? 01 Yes 02 No 03 Don't know/ want to tell I.A. Don't know / N. 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.
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.04 Other reason. 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.4 Are you or someone of your household a member of any organisation? . specify Form J: Social relations J. business D Official meetings E chatting. eating.2 Please indicate the purpose of those contacts (Multiple answers possible.3 Do you or does one of your household members occupy an important position in the village/community? 01 No 02 Yes. Name……………………………. specify who and what position PID……………. Name……………………………. Name…………………………….Position……………………………………………………… 03 Don't no / No answer J.Position……………………………………………………… PID……………. entertainment F J.Position……………………………………………………… PID…………….
2) .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. 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.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.6) J.3) 02 No (continue to K.01 Yes 02 No (continue to J.1 Did you vote at the last elections? 01 Yes (continue to K.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.6) 03 Don't know (Continue to J.
7) 03 Don't know (Go to question K.03 Don't want to tell (continue with 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.7) 04 Don't want to tell (Go to question K.4) K.4 Will you vote during the next elections? 01 Yes (continue with K.5) 02 No (Go to question K.7) . specify 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.4 (If answered 'yes' to question K.1) K.
7) 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) 04 Don't want to tell (Continue with question K. (0=not at all important.K. 5=neutral.6 If not the same party. 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 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .5 Will you vote for the same party? 01 Yes (Continue with question K.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 K.6) 03 Don' t know (Continue with question K.7) 02 No (Continue with question 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. specify K.12) .11) 02 No (continue to K.12) 03 Don’t want to tell (continue to K.10 Have you ever participated in political demonstrations? 01 Yes (continue to K.9 What sources of information you consider to be the most reliable? (Note a 1 for the most reliable.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.
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. 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. how important are the following characterisitcs for a politician? Indicate on a scale 0-10 (0=not important at all.K. specify 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 K. (0=very dissatisfied. 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.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. 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 . 5=neutral.11 If yes. 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.12 According to you. 5=neutral. 5=neutral.14 Are you all in all satified with the present political situation? Indicate on a scale 0-10.
K. Specify . 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. (Note a 1 for the most important change.15 What are according to you the main three changes needed.
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.g.Form L: Perception of Wellbeing (0=not important at all.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 . 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.
your village/ neighbourhood? (0=least wealthy. 10= very wealthy) 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 . 5=average.
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