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Title: พลวัตหมอยาไตในบริบทชายแดนไทย – เมียนมา
Other Titles: Dynamics of Tai Folk Healers on the Thai-Myanmar Border
Authors: มาลี สิทธิเกรียงไกร
ชยันต์ วรรธนะภูติ
อาทิตย์ แผ่บุญ
Keywords: หมอยาไต
Issue Date: Sep-2563
Publisher: เชียงใหม่ : บัณฑิตวิทยาลัย มหาวิทยาลัยเชียงใหม่
Abstract: This thesis aims to study the dynamics of Tai folk healers on the Thai-Myanmar Border, Mae Ai District, Chiang Mai Province. This research has three main questions. First, how borderland influence the existence of Tai folk healers? Second, what is the relationship between Tai folk healers and other health care systems existing in the Thai-Myanmar border communities? Third, how Tai folk healers, who converted their religion from Buddhism to Roman Catholicism, adjust their beliefs into their practice of health and treatment? This ethnographic study has conducted the fieldwork from August 2018 - April 2019 by using participatory observation and in-depth interviews as research methods and analyzed research data through the concepts of borderland, medical pluralism, and negotiation of folk healers. The study was conducted at Ban Pang Nai Village, which is located 5 kilometers from the Thai-Myanmar border. Ban Pang Nai was originally the home of Tai Yuan ethnic group, later in 1982, the Shan ethnic group who were living in Shan State, Myanmar had been fled from armed conflicts in Myanmar, and settle down at Ban Pang Nai, Chiang Mai, Thailand. Currently, the third generation of Shan is increasing up to 1,000 people, however, 850 people still living without Thai nationality. Mo Ya Tai is a group of Tai folk healers who taking care of members of the community’s health, playing an important role in the health care system of Ban Pang Nai. Currently, there are ten of Mo Ya Tai, aged between 50 and 85, providing health care services in the community. Mo Ya Tai can be classified into 5 specialties: herbal therapist, orthopedist, massage therapist, ritual healer, and medical health worker (Mo Kra Pao). Besides, there are other forms of health care available in this village such as groceries selling herbal roots and modern medicine and peddling medicine healers (Mo Rae), coexisting with modern treatment in various levels, such as village health volunteers (VHV), sub-district health-promoting hospital (HPH), and district hospital. As there are many forms of modern health care service providing in the community, and the restrictions on access to various sources of herbs and traditional medicines, Tai folk healers must adapt themselves to the rapid change context. The study found that upon approaching the new society, Tai folk healers had faced dynamic changes in the economic, social, and political context in the village. Politically, entering into Thailand illegally was being perceived by the Thai government as a threat to national security, thus at an early stage, they need to avoid being in the attention of government officials by concealing their identity as Tai folk healers. However, when they realize that the villagers have difficulty to access modern health care services and suffer from untreated sickness due to economic condition, the folk healers turn to resurrect their knowledge and skills to help their community members. Some groups of Tai folk healers need to cost their services in reflecting on the current economic conditions. The recent developments of modern health services available in Ban Pang Nai have challenged the existence of folk healers. The folk healers do not only exist as a "healer" but in the Thai state context, folk healers also put themselves into the role of "patient" of modern treatment systems which allowed them to experience and immerse themselves in western health care culture. Folk healers brought new knowledge they gained from modern medicine and combine the different concepts, beliefs, sickness explanations, and knowledge into their treatment practices. However, being an unregistered practitioner under the Thai law, thus to avoid being arrested, the Tai folk healers have set their limits of treatment only for those who are members of their community, and reject to give treatment to strangers. In the case of the Roman Catholic Tai folk healers, there are negotiations with fellow believers and religious teachers by redefining the ancestor spirits as the spirits of benefactors below God. At the same time, they tried to act as a good Christian by following the teachings of religion while being ethical folk healers. Amid the rapid change in the context border area of the Ban Pang Nai, the dynamics of Tai folk healers and space dynamics are therefore inseparable. Since Tai folk healers at Ban Pang Nai are not only folk healers, who adhere to the original knowledge until the resistance or surrendering to the knowledge that they had, was swallowed up and faded with time. However, the Tai folk healers have made a twist through their intelligence, adaptation to negotiate with economic, social, and political conditions to inherit knowledge, ethnic wisdom, and be a custodian of the Tai community identity in the Thai-Myanmar border context.
Appears in Collections:SOC: Theses

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