‘Everything is decided somewhere else’: Risk narratives as a navigation tool in societies experiencing uncertainty

In Journal of Human Security Studies
Volume (Issue): Special Issue, 2018-1
Peer-reviewed Article

In recent decades, economic development in Southeast Asian countries has made tremendous impacts on rural societies. People have tried to take advantage of the new
opportunities brought about by such economic development, as well as the assets and capacities presented, to develop and diversify their livelihood options.
Against this backdrop, this paper analyses the narratives of people living in the villages of Northeast Thailand. Participants have shared their experiences employing their
unique narrative frameworks, highlighting inequality of the opportunities to take advantage of the changes. Their narratives also cover some of the risks associated with economic development, such as the environmental damage due to new crops and factories. When talking about these risks, people make their positions clear – whether they can avoid the damages or not. Thus, these expressions of risk are the navigation tools guiding them in these societies in transition.

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