SILPAKORN UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, HUMANITIES, AND ARTS, Vol 8, No 1 (2008)

Female weavers group of Ban Tai: The Process of Empowering a Community Using Ethnic Wisdom

Phitak Siriwong

Department of Community Management, Faculty of Management Science, Silpakorn University, Cha-am Phetchaburi, 76120


Abstract


This study focuses on the process of empowering the Ban Tai silk-weaving community, using local wisdom of the Teen Chok (hem borders) silk weaving technique. The silk weaving at Ban Tai is operated exclusively by village women who live in the Khu-Bua sub-district of Muang district, Ratchaburi province, Thailand. They inherited the ethnic know-how of Teen Chok silk weaving from the Thai Yuan through their ancestors who migrated from Chiang Saen. This know-how enables them to negotiate with the public and private sectors regarding their own activities and operations. The weaving also provides a supplementary source of income for low-income families, thus improving their quality of life. The group has utilized many strategic operating plans such as setting up Teen Chok silk contests and having ancient Teen Chok silk exhibitions. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhon was invited to attend the exhibition. Her Royal Highness’s attendance and support helped to reinforce the importance of Teen Chok silk weaving among the villagers. Owing to a marketing potential, a knowledge exchange with other provinces, and their ability to integrate cultural capital, this group has become a strong, widely-accepted, and powerful force in society.

Key Words: Teen Chok silk weaving; ethnic wisdom; empowering community; Ban Tai community; Chiang Saen Thai Yuan; female silk weaver

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