Flexible Identity: Unfolding the Identity of the Chinese-Thai Population in Contemporary Thailand

Ruji Auethavornpipat

Abstract


 

This research paper argues against the prominent theory articulated by William Skinner, who predicts the total assimilation of the Chinese in Thailand. In relation to Stuart Hall’s definitions of sociological subject and post-modern subject, a new perspective on identity of the ethnic Chinese in Thailand is introduced in order to assert that hybridity and cultural flexibility allow the Chinese descendants in Thailand to willingly become Thai as well as Chinese instead of becoming Thai only. This research paper explores identity politics played by the Chinese-Thai population in contemporary Thailand at the village, national, and transnational levels. Facilitated by the notions of hybridity and flexible citizenship, identity politics are embraced by the Chinese-Thais in a way that benefits not only them but also other members in the Thai society.


Keywords


identity; identity politics; Chinese; Thai; hybridity; flexible citizenship; flexible capital; sociological subject; post-modern subject; CP Group; contemporary Thailand

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EISSN 1923-1334

University of Victoria