Religious Discourse and Gender Security in Southern Thailand
Keywords:Cultural Change, Deep South of Thailand, Gender Security, Malay-Muslim Women, Peacebuilding
This article describes the complexity of applying human security through the notion of gender equality in southern Thailand where violent conflict has been prevalent for nearly half a century in a Malay-Muslim-dominated society. It explores how the concepts of gender and security have been interpreted in Malay-Muslim leaders’ outlooks. To define security more broadly, the article surveys the various notions of peacebuilding dealing with comprehensive human security and any security threat, thus not limited to state of war or physical violence only. In the prolonged armed violence and conflict, like that faced in Thailand’s Deep South, women’s security and their role in peacebuilding emerge as pertinent concerns. The discontinuities within the narratives of women and security highlight a divergence connected to personal-political imaginations of conflict whereby subtle variations in violent conflict can be seen as the products of different policy prescriptions, local cultural norms, and the project outcomes of women groups supported by governmental organizations and national and international donors. Thus, in order to reflect upon how contemporary security notions are framed, gendered security per- ceptions ought to be considered as they signify the exercise of peacebuilding programs in the local context. Persistent advocacy of gender equality is about cultural change, which eventually becomes a modality for non-violent society.
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