Articulating the Shan migrant community in Thai society through community radio: A case study of the Map radio FM 99 in the city of Chiang Mai, Thailand
Abstract: Community radio as an alternative public sphere for minorities has emerged apart from mainstream media and formal public spheres. In particular, its ethos of understanding community participation as a key component of operating a station highlights its potential to empower community members as active social agents. This study examines the social consequences of an ethnic migrant community radio station, Map radio FM 99, to explore its role for the Shan migrant community in Chiang Mai, Thailand. To do so, field work was conducted for 7 weeks between December 2015 and January 2016, with data collected from semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and relevant documents. Employing a qualitative approach, this study found that participation in community radio helps participants to be socially active in Thai society by maximising their participation in the social sphere through the use of media. This study concludes that participation in Map radio enables participants to adapt to Thai society by providing and obtaining information necessary for their lives and contributed to the formation of a collective identity as ethnic migrant workers, creating community cohesion. Nonetheless, lack of political efficacy of this alternative public sphere might partly prevent social participation of community members in Thailand.
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