Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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The essay explores the essential experiential characteristics of the traditional house, particularly those which may be appropriately interwoven into the fabric of Thai urban dwellings today. With hermeneutic phenomenology as its philosophical framework, the in-depth exploration takes the form of four comparative case studies, each representing a point in the line of tradition. Through a layering descriptive and interpretive process, five essential patterns emerge, each of which finds its meanings richly traceable to the various facets of the Thai culture. Together, the patterns and their meanings give rise to a framework, which reveals the many facets of a dwelling place, as well as their interrelationship and significance to the human experience. This evolving place structure underscores the long deserved significance of the aesthetic and metaphysical aspects of place. Finally, the essay points out that traditional has served as a mirror which helps fostering an understanding of the present world. Through the everyday language and gestures, traces of forgotten meanings from the past re-emerge into light. In the end, the discoveries put forth in this paper raise a few issues revolving around the very idea of tradition-e.g. whether tradition can be viewed not as a "thing," but rather a process in with the new, a selecting and filtering process wherein time is an essential agent, and we human are thus inherently conditioned by it.

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