Manusya, Journal of Humanities

Publication Date



The reality of global capitalism and development ideology has made Thailand uncertain. In the 1980s, Thailand's reduced political activity accelerated the export-oriented economy. The move in policy from political control to development ideology for the pursuit of economic advancement can be argued to have presented a collective threat to the people. The economic disparity prevalent in Thai society shows that people at the community level must face hazardous and insecure treatment from the more dominant party. In this paper, I have conducted an in-depth analysis of the film Khru Somsri (1986) which is a "social mirror" of Thai society amid this economic growth. I argue that statist development ideology, which is interchangeable with modernity, engenders two things. They are, firstly, the discourse on participation pertaining to class and gender and, secondly, the empowerment discourse, particularly of women. This paper shows that people at the local level must struggle in order to prolong their survival in the slum community. Furthermore, how the discourse of participation is being maneuvered is manifold. Participation, as seen in this film, is hierarchical and gendered. The latter aspect of gender relations amid the accelerated market economy ultimately challenges the propriety of how Thai women embody their femininity. This paper re-examines the enmeshed affiliations between the development discourse and disintegrated participation with special attention to gender relations where women's participation in the development discourse unveils them as ardent, impassioned actors and empowered women.

First Page


Last Page




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.