Social Indicators Research

, Volume 114, Issue 3, pp 1049–1072 | Cite as

Cultures of Aspiration and Poverty? Aspirational Inequalities in Northeast and Southern Thailand

  • Laura Camfield
  • Awae Masae
  • J. Allister McGregor
  • Buapun Promphaking


The paper provides micro-level evidence of rising inequality in Thailand, using data from an intensive study of seven communities in Northeast and Southern Thailand. This inequality affects participants’ material and subjective wellbeing, their aspirations, and the extent to which they feel these are realised. The paper argues that adaptation, expressed as reduced aspirations, could explain why the effect of material poverty on people’s satisfaction with their lives is small. The reduction in attainment of aspirations linked to socio-economic status suggests that a small, but constant group of people are being excluded from a shift in the societal consensus over what constitutes a good life.


Aspirations Subjective wellbeing Thailand Inequality Adaptation Poverty 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura Camfield
    • 1
  • Awae Masae
    • 2
  • J. Allister McGregor
    • 3
  • Buapun Promphaking
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of International DevelopmentUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  2. 2.School of Social and Environmental DevelopmentNIDABangkokThailand
  3. 3.Institute of Development StudiesSussexUK
  4. 4.Khon Kaen UniversityKhon KaenThailand

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