Urak Lawoi : A fieldstudy of the original people the Urak Lawoi of the Andaman Sea, Ko Lanta - and the problems they face with rapid tourism development

University essay from Lunds universitet/Socialantropologi

Abstract: This essay is about the indigenous people Urak Lawoi in Andaman Sea, outside the west coast of Thailand. The study shows what happens to them when they are being deprived of their territory and are being forced to abandon their culture, lifestyle and traditional economic subsistence. Urak Lawoi have until recently maintained culture, language and lifestyle apart from the rest of Thai society. During the last one and half decades, rapid tourism development, with large-scale hotels and bungalow resorts, have impacted and disrupted significantly on the nomadic lifestyles of the indigenous Urak Lawoi. They have been pushed away farther from the beaches and into unproductive parts. Powerful global forces linked to the world market economy result in situations that are not favorable for the local people Urak Lawoi and the ecosystems. My intention is to find out how the Urak Lawoi acts in response to rapid social changes of lifestyle, increasing contacts with outsiders, forced relocation due to the establishment of National Parks, and integration into the global market economy. My essay will also show how inferiority complex of an ethnic community increase under circumstances of social, political and economic pressure. I have focused on the situation for the Urak Lawois in Ko Lanta.

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