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  • Writer's pictureZomia Seeds

The Songkran Festival in Chiang Tung: A Symbolic Performance of Domination and Subordination

I wanted to share a very interesting article about the relationship between Tai Khuen (ไทขึน) peoples and the Tai Loi (ไตหลอย) peoples in the context of a study on the symbolic elements of the water-festival 'Songkran' in Chiang Tung (Keng Tung, Myanmar).

Titled: 'THE SONGKRAN FESTIVAL IN CHIANG TUNG: A Symbolic Performance of Domination and Subordination between Lowland Tai and Hill Tai' - It was written by Klemens Karlsson who is an affiliate researcher at the University of Chiang Mai and includes such gems as this excerpt from the introduction that I wanted to share in particular:

"Ethnic identity of a particular Tai group is constructed in a continuous process, not only by external forces and labeling by outsiders with whom the Tai interact, but also in the course of their own socio-cultural process of creating a self-definition (Yos Santasombat, 2001:15). People select their own history in the context of others, and it is necessary to view every social entity as part of a larger system, where the self-definition of a people includes attributions to it made by its neighbors. An ethnic group is a socially constructed community that often defines itself by its origin or language, and thus, a chosen history is one of the main elements in creating a self-definition of the group and prescribing its boundaries to others."

Truly, an insightful and useful read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of Zomia and the relationships between it's diverse inhabitants.

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