Chavivan Prajuabmoh. (2523) The Role of Women in Monitoring Ethnic Identity and Boundaries: A Case of Thai Muslim

Chavivan Prajuabmoh. (2523) The Role of Women in Monitoring Ethnic Identity and Boundaries: A Case of Thai Muslim
(the Mal Speaking Group in Southern Thailand. University of Hawaii USA (Unpublished PhD.)

In this study, the importance of history, family, community, religion and education are each investigated for their significance in the development and maintenance of Thai-Muslim ethnicity. An extra dimension, one not considered b previous researchers, is also added: the importance of sex-role distinctions. These elements all contribute to an integrated understanding of Thai-Muslim ethnicity from historical and socio-cultural perspectives. The study indicates that southern Thai Muslims, despite some variations, maintain their distinctiveness through various social organizations such as family, kinship, community and friendship networks, and through religious education. Their ethnicity has been the outcome of a long history of ethnic interaction with the Thai. However, a small section of the Muslim population has also been influenced by Thai education. This group seems to possess a “double identity” where in a veneer of Thai nationality, to which the have some degree of commitment, encapsulates their Muslim identity. For the remainder of the population the identities of “nayu” (Mala) and “siye” (Thai) are exclusive. Ethnic identity has an impact on the extent to which Muslims interact with the Thai, and this can be conceptualized as an “ethnic boundary.” This boundary is signified by avoidance and minimization of interaction with Thais b the majority of the Thai-Muslims. The ethnic boundary maintained by Thai-educated Muslims, however, is much more flexible and less solid than that maintained by their non-Thai educated counterparts. The existence and perpetuation of Muslim ethnicity cannot be explained simply by history since other media are needed to transmit and organize it. The socio-cultural media which function to maintain Muslim ethnicity can be viewed within two perspectives: informal institutions such as family and friendship, and formal institutions such as the mosque committee, the Islamic committee, and the religious school. It is found that women are most significant in these informal institutions for the maintenance of ethnicity. Their role as mothers function to socialize and instill a sense of identity to the young. The themselves strongly maintain the group’ s cultural symbols such as language and dress, and furthermore strengthen the boundary by a strong commitment against intermarriage. Women help to solidify the in-group solidarity through various activities such as food exchange and visiting. Men, on the other hand, are important in formal institutions such as the religious school. Thus, it seems that women and men perform complementary roles which are both necessary for the maintenance of Thai-Muslim ethnicity. (https://elibrar.ru/item.asp?id=7317953)