Women’s Agency in the Malay Muslim Communities of Southern Thailand

Chapter

Abstract

Women have invariably been described as victims in the literature on women’s political participation in Southeast Asia. Moreover, publications tend to focus on the formal political arena of elected officials, often highlighting the obstacles that women face when entering politics. Even such obstacles have been discussed through the lenses of a discourse on women as victims—victims of patriarchy or of the “old boys” network and so on. This discourse obscures women’s agency. Literature that addresses women’s political engagement through civil society is scarce for the Southeast Asia region, particularly in the sense of highlighting the impact of women’s actions on significant human security issues. Yet women are politically engaged—whether through the formal political arena as politicians or through civil society as leaders and activists in social movements and NGOs. Women are agents of change and their political engagement makes significant impact on various issues of human security issues including peace-building efforts in various parts of Southeast Asia. This chapter examines Malay Muslim women’s agency in the conflict-torn Deep South of Thailand, focusing on civil society engagement.

Keywords

Civil Society Muslim Woman Political Engagement Human Security Civic Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank my “Thai Patrons,” my Thai colleagues who have supported the development of the different phases of this research project through academic discussions, linking me into cultural informant networks and stimulating my academic thinking about the various issues under investigation—thank you Dr. Chaiwat Satha-Anand, Dr. Juree Vichit-Vadakan, and Dr. Srisompob Jitpiromsri from Thammasat University, NIDA, and Prince of Songkla University, respectively. I also would like to thank the following instances for small travel grants that allowed me to travel to Thailand over the course of the project: the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at NIU for foreign travel awards and especially for the Royal Thai Fund supporting faculty research travel, and the Lillian Cobb Fellowship (at NIU). I also would like to thank Professors Danny Unger and Judy Ledgerwood, my colleagues, who have read an early draft of this manuscript and provided invaluable feedback. I wish to express my deepest thanks to all individuals and organizations that have participated and continue to support my research engagement in the Deep South.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyNorthern Illinois UniversityDeKalbUSA

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