Participatory Engagement for Sustainable Innovation in Karen Communities

Authors

  • Jitjayang Yamabhai Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University
  • Riemer Knoop Gordion Cultureel Advies, The Netherlands
  • Patoo Cusripituck Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.14764/10.ASEAS-0062

Keywords:

Karen, Ecomuseum, Social Design, Heritage, Sustainable Engagement

Abstract

This paper reports on heritage fieldwork by the Mahidol Cultural Anthropology Museum, carried out from 2019 to 2020, with a group of four Karen villages in Doi Si Than, or ‘Four Creeks Mountain’, a valley in the remote Northwest of Thailand. The research aimed to find and introduce sustainable business models in Karen ethnic communities using essential heritage products and intangible practices. Additionally, the community offers an example of Thai integrated farming, which we analyzed as a case of innovative, intergenerational heritage practice, and that we helped turn into a more sustainable economic mainstay of the community. The method used throughout the process was participatory action research blended with social design, as well as building on a long-term engagement. As a theoretical framework, we adapted Design Thinking to Paulo Freire’s Education of Liberation model to create an eclectic ‘Four Creek Mountain’ approach in order to do justice to local circumstances and establish a shared set of explicit social values. We compared the results with de Varine’s concept of the ecomuseum to find a suitable action perspective. The findings show that local heritage practices can successfully be used to re-engage communities with today’s broader society on the condition they are embedded in intergenerational co-operation based on trust, and with social designers (urban curators) acting as connectors, thus ensuring the community’s ownership of the process.

Author Biographies

Jitjayang Yamabhai, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University

Jitjayang Yamabhai is assistant professor and lecturer in the Cultural Studies Program at the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University, Thailand. He serves as Head of the Mahidol Social Engagement Cluster. His research interests include rural development, ethnicity, and sociology of education. His current research focuses on the Four Creeks Mountain Ecomuseum and ethnic community development in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

Riemer Knoop, Gordion Cultureel Advies, The Netherlands

Riemer Knoop is a classicist and archaeologist. He obtained his Ph.D. in Etruscology and held several positions in the Dutch heritage industry, before he founded Gordion Cultureel Advies (1998) that advises institutions and governments on cultural policy. He was professor in cultural heritage at the Amsterdam University of Arts and has been a visiting professor in Italy, Thailand, Egypt, Russia, Columbia, and China. His research focuses on heritage theory and social sustainability. 

Patoo Cusripituck, Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia, Mahidol University

Patoo Cusripituck (corresponding author) is a lecturer in museum studies in the Cultural Studies Program at the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia (RILCA), Mahidol University, Thailand. She serves as Chair of the iCulture group that runs the Museum of Cultural Anthropology and the Vivid Ethnicity Caravan Exhibition at RILCA, and conducts museum training projects for museum practitioners. She holds a position as board member of the Thailand Museum Association and consultant for various museums in Thailand. Her current research focuses on the Four Creeks Mountain Ecomuseum and community development in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Her areas of interest include museum education, museum and community engagement, ethnicity, and visual anthropology. 

References

Corsane, G., Davis, P., & Murtas, D. (2008). Place, local distinctiveness and local identity: Ecomuseum approaches in Europe and Asia. In M. Anico, & E. Peralta (Eds.), Heritage and identity (pp. 47-62). Routledge.

D school. (2020). Bootcamp bootleg: Institute of Design at Stanford. https://dschool.stanford.edu/resources/the-bootcamp-bootleg.

Davis, P. (2011). Ecomuseums: A sense of place (2nd ed.). Continuum.

de Varine, H. (2017). L’écomusée singulier et pluriel. Un témoignage sur cinquante ans de muséologie communautaire dans le monde. L’Harmattan.

Desvallées, A., & Mairesse, F. (Eds.). (2010). Key concepts of Museology. Armand Colin.

Freire, P. (2014). The pedagogy of the oppressed. Bloomsbury Academic.

Geertz, C. (1973). The interpretation of culture. Basic Book.

Ichikawa, M. (2019). The relationship between S’gaw Karen people and the supernatural. MA Thesis, Cultural studies, Mahidol University.

Janssen, J., Luiten, E., Rouwendal, J., & Renes, H. (2014). Character sketches. National heritage and spatial development research agenda. Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands.

Knoop, R., & Schwarz, M. (2017). Straatwaarden: in het nieuwe speelveld van maatschappelijke erfgoedpraktijken. Reinwardt Academy AHK.

Mezirow, J., & Taylor, E. W. (2009). Transformative learning in practice: Insights from community, workplace, and higher education. Jossey-Bass.

Mikkelsen, B. (1995). Methods for development work and research. Sage.

Nederveen Pieterse, J. (2010). Development theory. Sage.

Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board. (2007). Sufficiency economy. Implications and applications. Sufficiency Economy Movement Sub-committee, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board.

Potter, H. (2017). Ecomuseum beginning: Hughes de Varine, Gorge Henri Riviere and Peter Davis. https://ecomuseums.com/ecomuseum-beginnings-hughes-de-varine-georges-henri-riviere-and-peter-davis/

Riva, R. (2017). Ecomuseums and cultural landscapes. State of the art and future prospects. Maggioli.

Russell, R., & Winkworth, K. (2009). Significance 2.0. A guide to assessing the significance of collections. Collections Council of Australia. https://www.arts.gov.au/sites/default/files/significance-2.0.pdf?acsf_files_redirect

Schwarz, M., & Elffers, J. (2010.) Sustainism is the new modernism: A cultural manifesto for the sustainist era. Distributed Art Publishers.

Schwarz, M., & Krabbendam, D. (2013). Sustainist design guide. BIS Publishers.

Schwarz, M. (2016). A sustainist lexicon. Seven entries to recast the future: Rethinking design and heritage. Architectura & Natura Press.

Simon, N. (2010). The participatory museum. Museum 2.0.

Simon, N. (2016). The art of relevance. Museum 2.0.

Su, D. (2008). The concept of the ecomuseum and its practice in China. Museum International, 60, 29-39.

Downloads

Published

2021-12-31

How to Cite

Yamabhai, J., Knoop, R., & Cusripituck, P. (2021). Participatory Engagement for Sustainable Innovation in Karen Communities. Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 14(2), 195–212. https://doi.org/10.14764/10.ASEAS-0062

Issue

Section

Current Research on Southeast Asia